When you hold the 13th seed in the Big East Conference tournament, you don't expect to face an opponent that was in the Final Four last season in your first-round game. But it's just St. John's luck to draw underachieving Connecticut at a time when angry coach Jim Calhoun is telling his players, "We better win some games in the Big East tournament." Or else.

Calhoun benched seniors Jerome Dyson, Gavin Edwards and Stanley Robinson for the final 16:04 of yesterday's 75-68 loss at South Florida, which was the third straight loss for the Huskies (17-14, 7-11 Big East). Calhoun liked the hustle his reserves showed in reducing a 13-point deficit to two near the end. Starters Kemba Walker and Ater Majok were pulled but returned to the game. Edwards has been coming off the bench but playing major minutes.

"The team you saw at the end will be the team that starts Thursday," Calhoun said of the 2 p.m. matchup with St. John's (17-14, 6-12). It was somewhat unclear exactly what the starting lineup will be, but seniors Dyson, Edwards and Robinson can expect to be on the bench if Calhoun sticks to his vow.

UConn hasn't won its first game in the Big East since 2005. Of course, that streak includes last season's epic quarterfinals loss to Syracuse in six overtimes. The Huskies didn't lose again until the national semifinals. But this season has been a struggle, and Calhoun missed time at midseason to deal with an unspecified stress-related illness. George Blaney was the acting head coach when UConn defeated St. John's 75-59 in their only meeting on Jan. 20 in Hartford.

St. John's is working on a nine-game losing streak to UConn that dates back to Feb. 9, 2002, a stretch that encompasses the entire six-season Norm Roberts era. Roberts is desperately fighting to hold onto his job and show some improvement, and whether Calhoun is mad or not, he might not ever have a better chance to defeat a Connecticut team in apparent disarray.

The question is whether St. John's has the firepower to pull it off. The Red Storm was snubbed completely by league coaches in the voting for the all-Big East team. A total of 19 players were recognized as first-, second- or third-team and honorable mention, and not even D.J. Kennedy (15.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists) could get a mention. The only two of 16 league schools that didn't have someone on those teams or the all-rookie team were St. John's and DePaul.

Six players were named to the first team and all are candidates for player of the year, which will be announced between Tuesday's tournament sessions. They include Notre Dame's Luke Harangody, Georgetown's Greg Monroe, Syracuse's Wesley Johnson, South Florida's Dominque Jones, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds and Da'Sean Butler of West Virginia. Harangody is a three-time selection, but Reynolds was the only unanimous selection this season.

Here's the tournament schedule at Madison Square Garden:

Tuesday, March 9 -- First Round (ESPNU) 

No. 9 USF (19-11) vs. No. 16 DePaul (8-22)................................ Noon

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No. 12 Connecticut (17-14) vs. No. 13 St. John’s (16-14)............ 2 p.m. 

No. 10 Seton Hall (18-11) vs. No. 15 Providence (12-18)................ 7 p.m.

No. 11 Cincinnati (16-14) vs. No. 14 Rutgers (15-16)..................... 9 p.m.

 

Wednesday, March 10 -- Second Round (ESPN) 

No. 8 Georgetown (20-9) vs. USF/DePaul winner............................. Noon

No. 5 Marquette (20-10) vs. Connecticut/St. John’s winner.............. 2 p.m.

No. 7 Notre Dame (21-10) vs. Seton Hall/Providence winner............ 7 p.m.

No. 6 Louisville (20-11) vs. Cincinnati/Rutgers winner.................... 9 p.m.

 

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Thursday, March 11 -- Quarterfinals (ESPN) 

No. 1 Syracuse (28-3) vs. 8/9/16 winner...................................... Noon

No. 4 Villanova (24-6) vs. 5/12/13 winner.................................... 2 p.m.

No. 2 Pittsburgh (24-7) vs. 7/10/15 winner................................... 7 p.m.

No. 3 West Virginia (24-6) vs. 6/11/14 winner............................. 9 p.m.

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Friday, March 12 -- Semifinals (ESPN) 

Thursday afternoon winners........................................................ 7 p.m.

Thursday evening winners........................................................... 9 p.m.

 

Saturday, March 13 -- Championship (ESPN) 

Semifinal winners..................................................................... 9 p.m.

 

Here are the coaches' all-Big East selections (coaches can't vote for their own players):

 

ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM 

Greg Monroe, Georgetown, C, So., 6-11, 247, New Orleans, La.

Luke Harangody, Notre Dame, F, Sr., 6-8, 255, Schererville, Ind.

Dominique Jones, USF, G, Jr., 6-4, 205, Lake Wales, Fla.

Wes Johnson, Syracuse, F, Jr., 6-7, 205, Corsicana, Texas

Scottie Reynolds, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-2, 190, Herndon, Va. *

Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia, F, Sr., 6-7, 225, Newark, N.J.

 

ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM 

Austin Freeman, Georgetown, G, Jr., 6-4, 237, Mitchelville, Md.

Lazar Hayward, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-6, 225, Buffalo, N.Y.

Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh, G, So., 6-2, 190, Scotch Plains, N.J.

Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, G, Jr., 6-5, 185, Bronx, N.Y.

Andy Rautins, Syracuse, G, Sr., 6-5, 195, Jamesville, N.Y.

 

ALL-BIG EAST THIRD TEAM 

Jerome Dyson, Connecticut, G, Sr., 6-3, 190, Potomac, Md.

Kemba Walker, Connecticut, G, So., 6-1, 172, Bronx, N.Y.

Samardo Samuels, Louisville, F, So., 6-9, 260, Trelawny, Jamaica

Corey Fisher, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-1, 200, Bronx, N.Y.

Devin Ebanks, West Virginia, F, So., 6-9, 210, Long Island City, N.Y.

 

BIG EAST HONORABLE MENTION 

Jimmy Butler, Marquette, F, Jr., 6-6, 215, Tomball, Texas

Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame, F, Jr., 6-8, 232, Unionville, Conn.

Jamine Peterson, Providence, F, So., 6-6, 230, Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

BIG EAST ALL-ROOKIE TEAM 

Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati, G, Fr., 6-5, 210, Brooklyn, N.Y. *

Alex Oriakhi, Connecticut, F/C, Fr., 6-9, 240, Lowell, Mass.

Vincent Council, Providence, G, Fr., 6-2, 180, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dane Miller, Rutgers, F, Fr., 6-7, 210, Henrietta, N.Y. *

Brandon Triche, Syracuse, G, Fr., 6-4, 198, Jamesville, N.Y.

Maalik Wayns, Villanova, G, Fr., 6-1, 185, Philadelphia, Pa.

* -- unanimous selection