Villanova has never won at the Petersen Events Center and that trend continued on Saturday.
Pittsburgh (27-4, 15-3 Big East) won the Big East regular season championship outright on a day where they celebrated four seniors on senior day.
It wasn’t brilliant, flashy or even fun to watch, but it was how the Panthers win games. They out-rebounded the Wildcats 30-22, which is what they are known for. They also added 12 combined assists compared to Villanova’s 4.
Ashton Gibbs led the way for the Panthers with 18 points. Gilbert Brown, Travon Woodall and Nasir Robinson all had 9 points. Senior Brad Wanamaker didn’t connect on a field goal; he was held to three points.
Villanova (21-10, 9-9 Big East) has been reeling of late. They attempted Notre Dame’s strategy against the Panthers by slowing the tempo of the game and using clock. One thing that the Fighting Irish did and the Wildcats didn’t is make shots. They shot 19-51 (37.3 percent). The production level may have been down due to the fact that Corey Stokes was out with an injury. Maalik Wayns filled Stokes’ role admirably with 27 points. He didn’t get any help, though. Corey Fisher, the Wildcats leading scorer, shot 3-14 from the floor and was held to 7 points. No other player scored in double figures.
The Panthers head into the Big East tournament with the number 1 seed. Would it be better for them to lose early so they can rest up for the NCAA’s? I don’t think so. I do believe that no matter what Pittsburgh will be a number 1 seed. BYU, Texas and Duke all lost this week which helps the Panthers significantly. The only way they won’t be a number 1 seed is if Notre Dame beats Pittsburgh again and wins the Big East Tournament, but even if that happens Pittsburgh will still be a number 1 seed in my mind. The Fighting Irish would have a strong case to join Pittsburgh as a number 1 seed, though.
Losing isn’t the cure to WINNING just ask Charlie Sheen. Whatever happens to the Panthers in the Big East won’t matter in the big dance. This is the best shot for them to make the Final 4, arguably. It is up to them to make it happen.
About the Author
Written by Justin Welton
Born in Franklin, PA. Life-long Pittsburgh sports fan + Boston Celtics. Attending Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Working for WCUC - 91.7 and WCUB-TV. Clarion Call writer for two years.