Well Pitt has had their share of games they shouldn't have won this year and you can add another one. At some point, you almost have to think Pitt will be on the losing end of one of these. I'm just hoping it's not in the tournament.
Get ready for the cries of 'lucky shot' tomorrow by national media who haven't watched Gibbs play this year. But anyone who's followed him even passively obviously knows if he takes that shot ten times, he'd have a good chance to make four or five (or more) of them. Yes it was an NBA range three-pointer and he didn't have a chance to set himself completely, but he has the range to make that shot. Simply put, clutch basket by a guy who can shoot unbelievably well when he's on.
All in all, other than shooting well (53%, 42% from three-point land), Pitt didn't have a great night. They narrowly won the overall rebounding battle 35-34, but gave up 14 offensive rebounds. Simply put, that's too many...especially against a team that can score. This is sadly starting to become a trend and it's the type of thing that could do Pitt in against a mediocre team in the tournament. Pitt also lost the battles at the free throw line (-10) and in turnovers (-9), so you can see, it was far from a perfect game.
Obviously, Pitt will take a win any way they can get it. And I'm sure the postgame talk will reflect that. But the defensive effort wasn't there tonight. I realize that Providence is actually a pretty good offensive team, but Pitt simply has to do better. It seemed like they played in spurts...they'd go on runs and get up by 7, 8, 9 points, but then would allow Providence to get close again. And it almost cost them tonight. It SHOULD have cost Pitt tonight.
On the plus side, Jermaine Dixon played completely out of his mind. Career high 24 points on 11-18 shooting and 12 rebounds. Quite simply, Pitt doesn't win without him. He was really agressive going to the basket and shot well from the perimeter. I was a little surprised that he didn't get the final look near the end of regulation. Maybe the play wasn't drawn up for Wanamaker, but it sure looked like it was. Dixon was relentless tonight and was really on his game. I would have maybe went with Dixon there, but I can't fault the choice of Wanamaker. This was actually one of the most intriguing things to come out of the game - the decision of who is the 'go to' guy at the end of games. I don't think it's one guy. I'm guessing it will be a situation where Jamie Dixon tries to exploit a certain matchup or goes with the hot hand.
And this just in, Jamine Peterson is a monster. He didn't play last year after having a mediocre freshman season, so technically, not sure if he can win the Most Improved Player award. But he's averaging 19 and 10 as a 6'6" SOPHOMORE - that's sick. 24 and 16 tonight. Like I said - sick.
So the double bye is secured, but Pitt clearly has work to do. Bottom line, they did just enough to win. Teams will have hiccups along the road and everyone struggles against teams they shouldn't, so I have a hard time making too big of a deal out of this. But Pitt is now entering tune-up mode for the NCAA tournament. They only have one more regular season game before a likely tough matchup in their first Big East game. Time to step it up.