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Posts Tagged ‘Pitt Panthers’

Bob Huggins Lays Down the “Law”

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Bob Huggins

Whether it’s basketball or football, it’s always a good time when Pitt and West Virginia get together. There’s a genuine affection between the two fanbases, one that extends beyond mere physical activity. Um, yeah. About that. I mean, the rivalry is called the “Backyard Brawl” for goodness’ sake. To say there’s no love lost would be understating things. The latest edition of the Backyard Brawl saw the Panthers traveling to West Virginia, and if you’re a fan of unruly student fans throwing things at opposing coaching staffs, this game was for you.

Watch Huggins work the crowd after the jump >>

Levance Fields Lifts Pitt to the Eight

Levance Fields

Thanks to Levance Fields high level of “clutch” and a rebounding masterpiece from DeJuan Blair, the Pittsburgh Panthers advanced past the Sweet 16 for the first time maybe ever since 1974. In other words, almost forever. The Panthers long-awaited tournament advancement didn’t come easy, thanks to the stubborn, “we aren’t going away” play of the Xavier Musketeers. Had it not been for Fields’ incredibly clutch play to close out the game, Pitt would be looking in the mirror this morning, wondering where such an outstanding season went. Besides his 3-point bomb that put the Panthers up by one point, Fields also had a steal on Xavier’s next possession, which was converted into points on the other end.

You can see the reaction of the Pitt Panthers in the above image, which was taken during the steal in question. Obviously, Blair thinks the game’s in hand after that. Normally, steals that happen throughout the course of a game don’t usually generate that kind of a reaction.

Video after the jump >>

Providence Earned Their Court Storming

Does Pittsburgh get stuck in broken record mode when they receive the number one ranking in the land? For the second time this season, the Panthers were rewarded for their play with the target, which they evidently don’t wear to well because after being voted into the top spot, Pitt lost. Again. This time, to the Providence Friars, a team absolutely dying for a quality win as the “On the Bubble” talk picks up in earnest. If beating the number one team in the land doesn’t help your tournament resume — one that actually looks pretty fair when compared to media darlings Georgetown and Notre Dame, record-wise, anyway — the phrase “quality win” should be dropped from the college basketball vernacular.

After the final horn sounded, the Providence students stormed the floor with some enjoyable enthusiasm, complete with a giant student head.

DeJuan Blair is a Beast

While making their claim for “Best Team in the Land,” Pittsburgh went to Connecticut’s house and dominated the Huskies, led by a 20-20 (22 points, 23 rebounds) from DeJuan Blair, who indicated last night was one of the most physical games he’s ever played in. During the game, Blair and UConn center Hasheem Thabeet got tangled up going for a rebound, and in a show of dominant strength, Blair flipped Thabeet off of his back and down to the floor. It’s safe to say Blair got the best of that exchange, furthering the whole “beast mode” meme.

While Blair’s dominance gets the headlines — rightfully so — guard Levance Fields finished the Huskies off by scoring 10 points in the final three minutes of the game. Apparently, Blair’s play was the body blow and Fields’ shooting provided the knockout. UConn’s loss also puts the Oklahoma Sooners in a position to take over the number one ranking when the new polls are released next week.

As for Pitt/UConn, a game like last night’s indicates we will be in for one hell of a Big East tournament. While Pitt and the Huskies will be the favorites, Louisville and Marquette will have a say, too. And then we have teams like Villanova and Syracuse, who can beat any team in America on any given night.

Intentional Upset: The Big East Was Full of It Last Night

I’ll say this for the Big East: They certainly now how to entertain during their conference tournament… and they provide good upset fodder. Just ask Louisville and Notre Dame. Both teams were higher seeds than their opponents and both teams were unceremoniously bounced from the Big East tournament. Louisville was given their walking papers after an entertaining game that needed an overtime period to determine the outcome.

Pitt Wins

In the end, Pitt advanced, 76-69. Sam Young led the Panthers with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The win does wonders for Pitt’s NCAA Tournament chances, something that looked a little slim before the Big East tourney started. Next up for the Panthers: Marquette, the other big upset winner from last night.

Marquette was powered by an hot second half that saw the Golden Eagles score 57 points while shooting 52% for the game. Cracked Sidewalks has more:

Jerel McNeal went off for 28 points to defeat #14 Notre Dame in the 2nd round of the BET, in what is the biggest post-season victory for Marquette in the Post-Wade era. Marquette beat the hated Domers 89-79…

McNeal was beyond superlative, hitting 9 for 16, including 4 for 7 from long range. Lazar chipped in 16 and James 10. DJ had 10 points and you take a line score of 10/6/6 any day of the week.

In other conference upset news, Nebraska beat Missouri in the Big 12 tourney and Boston College smacked Maryland, pretty much securing the Terps an NIT bid.