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Pitt Waits In The Wings Of The Garden

Posted By Justin Welton On Mar 9 2011 @ 1:23 am In Pittsburgh | No Comments

The Pittsburgh Panthers won the Big East regular season outright which has earned them the number one seed in the Big East Tournament.  They will meet the winner of Connecticut and Georgetown which will be played on Wednesday.

Georgetown is an interesting team in a tournament such as this. Their experience, guard play and coaching is all admirable assets to win a conference tournament. There is just one problem that stands in their way and that is no Chris Wright. He is their starting point guard and a senior leader. He is second on the team in scoring (13.1 ppg), but more importantly is their assists leader (5.4 apg).  He doesn’t shoot very well from three-point range, but can get hot in any given game. His unpredictability would make this Hoyas team a very dangerous one to face. They do have Austin Freeman, Jason Clark, Julian Vaughn and Hollis Thompson, just to name a few. They have players that can be difference makers, but this team is much different without a guy like Wright.

Connecticut defeated DePaul yesterday 97-71.

Connecticut is very dangerous with the likes of Kemba Walker. His dynamic ability to score the basketball (23.1 ppg) can take over any game. We saw what this Huskies team can do in a tournament of high quality when they played in the Maui Invitational at the start of the season. They beat Wichita State, Michigan State and Kentucky. The Big East will have much better opponents than the Maui had. Michigan State has been a dud, Wichita State didn’t win the Missouri Valley Conference and Kentucky was and still is a young, talented team that was learning how to play together. The only concern I have with Connecticut would be the lack of other options. I am a huge fan of Jeremy Lamb and what he can do, but he is just a freshman, and you can never tell how they are going to fair in an atmosphere such as Madison Square Garden.

If Connecticut expects to beat the higher echelon teams in the Big East, Lamb will have to perform like he did today. He scored 19 points to compliment Walker’s 26.

Alex Oriakhi will need to dominate the paint while staying out of foul trouble. It is safe to say that his 19 rebounds that he had yesterday will not likely be matched during the rest of the tournament, but he needs to be a double-double guy. He almost single-handedly out-rebounded DePaul yesterday with his 19 boards compared to DePaul’s 20.

The first day at the Big East Tournament is really to get rid of the “scrub” teams and yesterday did just that. Now it is time to see who really the beast of the east is.

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