The Big East was largely disappointing this season, and the Pittsburgh Panthers were one of the principal culprits.
One year after finishing 28-6 ranked as high as No. 2 and spending 19 weeks in the polls, the Panthers began the season No. 10 in the AP Top 25 and No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Nevertheless, Pittsburgh finished the season 13th in the Big East with a 5-13 conference record and 16-15 overall mark. Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET, the Panthers will face the No. 12 St. John's Red Storm (13-18, 6-12 Big East). The game will be aired on ESPN2 and ESPN3D.
The two teams met on Feb. 29 in Pittsburgh, a game the Pirates won 89-69.
Beginning with a 59-54 loss to Northeast Conference School Wagner Dec. 23, 2011, Pittsburgh -- ranked No. 13 at the time -- lost eight straight games. Prior to that loss to Wagner, Pittsburgh had lost just one game, Nov. 16, 2011, against Long Beach State. The losing streak was the Panthers' longest in more than a decade, though they were without junior point guard Tray Woodall for 11 games due to groin and abdominal injuries. Woodall finished second behind senior guard Ashton Gibbs in scoring with 11.5 points per game. Gibbs finished the season averaging 15.4.
St.John's, meanwhile, enters the conference tourney on a two-game losing streak. Following their loss to the Panthers, the Red Storm lost at Rutgers March 3, 61-58. St. John's did play a tough non-conference schedule, losing to Arizona, Texas A&M and Kentucky before Big East play started.
However, the Red Storm don't have many quality wins. They did beat the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, but two four-game losing steaks in conference play largely detracted from their record.
St. John's finished the season with three players averaging double-figures in scoring, led by freshman guard D'Angelo Harrison with 17.0 points per game. Freshman guard/forward Moe Harkless averaged 15.0, while sophomore guard Nurideen Lindsey contributed 12.4 per game -- though he appeared in only nine games for the Red Storm. Lindsey abruptly announced he was transferring from St. John's in early December. In mid-January, he announced he had chosen Arkansas, but five days later he reneged on the Razorbacks and elected to transfer to Rider.
For complete coverage of the Big East Tournament 2012, check back to this SB Nation New York StoryStream.
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.