Big Lead Sports Bar

3/16/2007

We Want You, VCU

Well, so much for the Pitt-Duke game I've always wanted to see. VCU eliminated the Team You Love to Hate by a count of 79-77 as warm-up entertainment for all of those Pitt fans who traveled to Buffalo. And it wasn't pretty. That was the worst thing to happen to Duke since a few lacrosse players had the idea to hire some strippers.
VCU really took it to the Dukies, and while I was happy to see the overrated Blue Devils eliminated, it was a bittersweet win. As my brother pointed out, "Everyone wants Duke to lose. If Pitt would've play Duke, the crowd (and the rest of the country) would root for Pitt. Now, VCU will have the entire country in their corner."
Yeah, this is playing out exactly like a Pitt tournament run does. After a 79-58 opening-round win against the Wright State Raiders, the Panthers will face the 28-6 VCU Rams on Saturday with the entire country rooting against them.

If you were wondering, the mathematical formula for Pitt's annual tournament experience looks like this:
High Pitt seed + Mid-Major/Cinderella + Potentially Dangerous Go-To Opposing Player = Early Elimination For Panthers
Eric Maynor, who racked up 22 points and 8 assists for VCU, looks like the favorite to join Marquette's Dwyane Wade, Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant (now toiling in the NBA D-League for a third stint this year after being chosen in the lottery), and Pacific's trifecta of Christian Maraker, David Doubley, and Mike Webb in the pantheon of mid-major players to take over a tournament game against Pitt.
But before we get to the potential gloom and doom of another early exit, let's break down Thursday's game. Pitt had a balanced attack, and by balanced I mean that six Panthers contributed to the 16 turnovers Pitt committed. If they were playing anyone better than Wright State, who shot 33% from the floor, they would have been in serious trouble. The Panthers were very sloppy, but their pure athleticism and talent dwarfed anything Wright State could throw at them.
Aaron Gray had 11 and 9 despite two or three Raiders on his back the entire night; Ronald Ramon led the team with 14 points, including a blazing 4-6 from three-point land; and Sam Young added 13 in 19 minutes of PT. Jamie Dixon even lit a triple human-victory-cigar with some rare playing time for Maurice Polen, Doyle Hudson, and Geoff Rizk.
It was a mildly entertaining game, albeit a very uneven first half. Pitt went from being up 15-2 to a 22-22 tie to a 43-30 halftime lead. They outscored the Raiders 36-28 in the second half. So all's well that ends well...for Pitt.
All in all, the first day of the tournament was pretty uneventful, with the exception of the Duke loss. The Mondesi March Madness pool had the cream rise to the top, with a four-way tie for first place after one day. Leaders include "Ed Rendell Sucks" and "Bobby Brown's Pimp Hand". I love it. There's also the obligatory trash talk, which was incited by this comment a few days ago by the user "Adam's Astute Obervations":
"Sean, Coach K is not going to lose to freaking VCU in the NCAA Tournament. Watch some college basketball and get your head out of you Big East Ass. He won't lose to Pitt either. He's freaking Coacg K, and as much as I hate his guts, he doesn't lose to teams at or below his level like Pitt and VCU in the tournament. "
Whoops.
In other tournament news, Bill Simmons of ESPN.com sat around with two buddies, ate food from The Oinkster, drank Smithwick's beer, and apparently just discovered the movie Borat. I know this because he kept mentioning them over and over in the running journal he kept while watching the games today. It's a long read, and not particularly interesting, but it does read a little differently from his recent columns:
"Greg Oden Kevin Durant. I mean, really, Greg Oden Kevin Durant. Celtics Celtics House SportsGal Kevin Durant. Greg Oden? Kevin Durant? Greg Oden. Kevin Durant. The Hills Celtics Magic Bird Karate Kid. Greg Oden, Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant, Greg Oden. Greg Oden! Kevin Durant! Yup, these are my readers."
Actually, I've been a Simmons fan for a long time. His No Balls Association piece about the NBA trade deadline was fantastic. We need more columns about that, and less college basketball. It's just not his strength. But I will keep reading.
To close, I return to the Pitt Panthers. I wish them the best of luck on Saturday against VCU and the entire nation.
Suggested reading:

4 comments:

Sean said...

It's just to easy to prove Adam wrong.

tecmo_bowl_bo_jackson said...

my buddy picked vcu pver duke. and hes a huge duke fan. i loathe him.




http://psamp.blogspot.com




mini ponies rule

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

That ESPN headline is a bit misleading don't you think?

A rare opening round win?

Ummm... we've won in the opening round 5 of the last 6 years.

You can manipulate statistics to say anything you want I guess.

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

Lou: ESPN sucks. Let me count the ways...

That said, I cannot see any way that Pitt can beat the offensive juggernaut that is VCU.

Pitt loses by 3 and I swear them off for good...until next fall.