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Pitt vs. St. John’s Preview

The Panthers and Red Storm will meet at Madison Square Garden in each team's final Gotham Classic matchup

NCAA Basketball: Monmouth-NJ at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 12 p.m.
Opponent: St. John’s
Head Coach: Mike Anderson (third year)
Conference: Big East
Current Record: 8-2
Last Game: 82-64 win vs. Colgate
2020-21 Season: 16-11 (10-9, fourth in Big East)

Pitt enters Saturday’s matchup with St. John’s having lost six of its last seven games, including its most recent, a 56-52 letdown against Monmouth. At this point, Pitt has yet to upend a high-major team, with losses to West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Minnesota and Virginia. However, the Panthers held their own against the Golden Gophers and the Cavaliers, as they lost each of those games by a single point. John Hugley, who is averaging 15.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, will look to steer Pitt away from a similar outcome in New York.

As for St. John’s, its 8-2 record is somewhat misleading, as it has also yet to notch a win over a high-major opponent. But with that said, St. John’s has only faced two such teams, including Indiana and Kansas. The Red Storm has also beaten the kinds of teams it is supposed to beat, and that likely spells trouble for the Panthers as that’s a list they’re on.

The Red Storm will be led by two players Pitt head coach Jeff Capel recruited out of high school: Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander. Champagnie, Justin Champagnie’s brother, is averaging 20.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Alexander is averaging 16.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists.

Update: According to the New York Post, St. John’s star Julian Champagnie will miss Saturday’s game after testing positive for COVID-19. Purdue transfer Aaron Wheeler will start in his place.