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St. John's, sixth seed in tourney, will play Gonzaga

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Stj Photo Credit: Getty

St. John’s will participate in its first NCAA tournament since 2002 as a No. 6 seed in the Southeast bracket. But if they advance from their Thursday matchup against No. 11-seeded Gonzaga in Denver, the 21-11 Red Storm will have to do it through depth, not star power.

The Johnnies will have to play without their top rebounder D.J. Kennedy, who tore his right ACL early in Thursday’s Big East quarterfinal loss to Syracuse. But coach Steve Lavin said his team is deep enough to make up for the 5.7 rebounds and 10.7-point average the 6-5 forward contributed.

“They’ll see our team has balance and depth,” Lavin said. “It could be a motivating factor for this team.”

Ohio State (32-2) was unsurprisingly named the overall top seed, and will play in the East, while ACC champ Duke (30-4) comes out of the West with its NCAA record 12th top-seeding. Kansas (32-2) will play in the Southwest, and Big East power Pitt (27-5) goes to the Southeast.

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