Connecticut took full advantage of Georgetown being without point guard Chris Wright in today’s 79-62 victory at Madison Square Garden. With the victory, UCONN will play Pittsburgh tomorrow at noon.
The Panthers defeated UCONN 78-63 in Pittsburgh on December 27. Four players reached double-digits for the Panthers. Ashton Gibbs had 21 points, Brad Wanamaker had 14 and Nasir Robinson and Gary McGhee chipped in with 11 a piece.
UCONN got 31 points from Kemba Walker on only 10-27 shooting. They shot 32 percent from the floor in the game. You can say that nobody really helped Walker out, but he took way too many shots. If they expect to win tomorrow they need to have a more balanced attack. They have been a bit more balanced through two Big East Tournament games. Four players scored in double-figures against DePaul and three against Georgetown. Nine players scored in all against the Hoyas. Jeremy Lamb scored 19 points against DePaul and 11 today. He is just a freshman, but is a legitimate second scoring option for the Huskies.
When a team has been sitting for a few days waiting in the wings, it is tough to tell how they will perform. Pitt is used to doing well (other than the last two years) in the Big East Tournament. If they feel that it is crucial for them to make a statement in this tournament they will come out and perform well. They haven’t looked great in the past few games, but have generally played well at MSG.
The Panthers have too many players who are inconsistent scorers. You never know how Gilbert Brown is going to play. He can look like an All-Big East performer by scoring 20 and looking like the best athlete on the floor in one game, but can also put up a two point performance in another. The same can be said about Robinson. He can destroy a zone at will when opponents attempt that strategy. He can look like a valuable piece in the Panthers offense around the foul line or in transition in stretches of the game, but has a high tendancy of turning the ball over.
The first 5-10 minutes will be important for the Panthers. If they come out stroking the ball from the floor it will be a good day. They have UCONN’s number just like Notre Dame has theirs so that helps out a bit. But, UCONN has the best player on the floor, and if it comes down to the last few minutes don’t be surprised if he takes over and pulls it out just like he did in Maui.
Teams that shoot well from the perimeter can give the Panthers problems. UCONN shoots 34 percent from long distance which will bode well for the Panthers.
People may argue that the Panthers would be better to lose early so they can rest up for the NCAA’s. Four of the last five National Champions have won their conference tournament. Nobody would rather lose a game than win it. Expect the Panthers to come out and play for pride.
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.