The Pitt Panthers defeated the Villanova Wildcats, 73-64, in overtime on Sunday afternoon in the last Big East game played at the Peterson Events Center.
Pitt trailed by nine points in the second half, but thanks to their always stingy defense, as well as some timely shots at the end, they were able to tie the game and won it going away in the extra period.
It was the first time I had a chance to witness a Pitt basketball game this season, and I must say, the contest was.............a typical Big East battle. Meaning, tons of defense, and painful looking offense.
The Panthers typically have a suffocating defense, and this season is no exception. Through Thursday, they ranked fifth in scoring defense, and Sunday's performance against Villanova more than confirmed that ranking.
However, as most Pitt fans know all too well, the team has come up short many times in the NCAA tournament, and the reason why, according to most fans and experts is two-fold:
They always meet up with a team that has a "Go to" guy. AND, they very rarely seem to have one of their own. Over the years, it's hard to argue with either sentiment; the proof has been in the pudding since 2002.
It's hard to predict if the Panthers will run into another "Go to" guy again in the NCAA tournament, but I do know their options for one of their own are, once again, pretty scarce. Senior guard Tray Woodall leads the way with 11.5 points per game, and as a team, Pitt isn't even in the top 50 in scoring offense.
Right now, the Panthers are 11-6 in the Big East, with one game left at pretty paltry Depaul to finish out the regular season. Assuming Pitt wins that game, 12-6 is certainly a good way to exit the legendary conference it has called home since the early 80's. And, regardless of what happens at Madison Square Garden next week, the Panthers figure to have a respectable seed in the NCAA's after missing the dance a season ago.
One has to wonder, however, if the team's lack of scoring will once again leave Pitt fans wanting more.