Big East Tournament 2012: Pittsburgh Basketball Preview

The Big East Conference Tournament 2012 tips off Tuesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, and this SB Nation New York StoryStream is the place to come for every tidbit of information. For a full schedule with results and updates of the bracket, click here.

Despite losing three of the better players in program history -- guard Brad Wanamaker, center Gilbert Brown and Gary McGhee -- it was suppose to be business as usual for the Pittburgh Panthers men's basketball team, which entered the season making eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

The plan was to have senior guard Ashton Gibbs, the Big East Conference Preseason Player of the Year, and junior guard Travon Woodall use their talents to carry the team on their backs.

Well, Woodwall went down with a groin injury in early Dec. and come to find out, Gibbs couldn't carry the load by himself, as Pitt lost seven straight to begin Big East play.

After a brief string of four straight victories, the Panthers dropped five consecutive to end all hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.

Head Coach: Jamie Dixon, ninth year

Since taking over for the departed Ben Howland, its been nothing but success for Dixon. That all changed this season, as the Panthers will miss out on the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.

Team MVP: Ashton Gibbs, senior guard

In the offseason, Gibbs dipped his toe in the NBA Draft waters, however, decided against entering and comeback for what was hopefully going to be another successful year at Pitt.

Well, that didn't happen and now Gibbs (15.5 points per game) will be trying to cement his collegiate career with a solid performance at the Big East Tournament.

Playing For: Pride

There's no chance of the Panthers earning an at-large bid to the Big Dance, so they will need to get there via a Big East Tournament crown. Can Pitt pull it off?

Breakdown: During their brief four-game winning streak, Pittsburgh knocked off the Georgetown Hoyas and West Virginia Mountaineers, proving it can beat better, more talented program if playing to its potential.

Gibbs does have as good, if not better more talent than former UConn star Kemba Walker, however, his supporting cast lacks the talent to make a five-wins-in-five-days run possible.

We can expect Pitt to give its first-round opponent a run for its money, as senior forward Nasir Robinson will want to go out on top too.

Big East Tournament Seed: No. 13, will play No. 12 St. John's in first round (2 p.m. ET).

Roster and stats:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Ashton Gibbs 31 34.9 5.3 13.6 39.0 2.2 6.5 33.0 2.7 3.1 85.6 0.5 1.8 2.4 2.3 1.8 0.6 0.1 1.0 15.4
Tray Woodall 20 30.4 3.8 8.9 42.9 1.6 4.3 37.2 2.3 2.7 86.8 0.6 2.5 3.1 6.1 3.6 1.0 0.2 2.4 11.5
Nasir Robinson 31 29.5 4.7 8.4 56.2 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.5 3.1 49.5 2.9 3.7 6.6 2.1 2.3 0.6 0.3 2.7 11.0
Lamar Patterson 29 27.5 3.1 7.3 42.9 1.1 2.7 41.6 1.6 2.1 75.0 1.8 3.3 5.0 3.3 1.8 1.0 0.3 2.5 8.9
J.J. Moore 30 17.2 2.3 5.5 42.4 0.8 2.6 32.1 1.5 2.0 75.0 0.7 2.4 3.1 0.4 1.1 0.5 0.2 1.5 7.0
Dante Taylor 29 19.6 2.5 4.6 55.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.2 1.8 66.0 2.8 2.7 5.6 0.4 1.0 0.4 0.8 2.1 6.2
Talib Zanna 31 19.0 2.2 4.1 53.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.2 1.8 64.9 2.2 3.1 5.4 0.4 0.8 0.3 0.3 2.3 5.6
John Johnson 31 14.3 1.5 3.5 41.3 0.9 2.2 39.1 0.8 0.9 85.7 0.1 0.6 0.7 1.4 0.9 0.3 0.0 1.4 4.5
Khem Birch 10 15.0 1.6 2.8 57.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.2 2.2 54.5 2.1 2.9 5.0 0.0 0.7 0.2 1.9 2.1 4.4
Cameron Wright 29 12.1 1.0 2.5 38.9 0.1 0.5 21.4 0.4 0.7 68.4 0.4 1.2 1.6 0.7 1.0 0.4 0.1 1.1 2.5
Nick Rivers 6 1.3 0.2 0.7 25.0 0.2 0.7 25.0 0.2 0.3 50.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7
Malcolm Gilbert 13 5.8 0.2 0.3 75.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.7 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.5 1.1 0.5
Isaiah Epps 17 5.7 0.1 0.9 6.3 0.0 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.9 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.5 0.1
Aron Nwankwo 4 1.8 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.3 0.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0

For a SB Nation New York preview of other Big East schools, click on its respective links: Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Georgetown, South Florida, Louisville, West Virginia, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. John's, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Providence, DePaul.

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