Well that was a bit unexpected.
Even if you subscribed to theory that UConn wasn't as good as advertised (and I don't know how you could come to that conclusion since they beat two top ten teams and were undefeated), I don't know that anyone could have predicted a 15-point win and been willing to put money down on it.
But that's exactly what happened as Pitt won 78-63. Pitt started strong and never let up. As I pointed out in the post-game recap over at SB Nation Pittsburgh, one thing I've been critical of Pitt about was the fact that they didn't play well with leads this year, often letting teams back in the game. That wasn't the case tonight as Pitt never trailed in the game. At 10-7, UConn never got any closer than that and Pitt led by double figures for a good portion of the contest.
Kemba Walker continued his quest for Player of the Year and had 31 points, four rebounds, and five steals, but couldn't get much help as no other UConn player reached double figures. That was in stark contrast to Pitt, which was led by Ashton Gibbs' 21 points, but had three other players in double figures.
And just as I buried Gary McGhee in the Big East blogger roundtable as published on Monday, calling him Pitt's most disappointing player, he had a strong game, going for 11 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, and, maybe just as important, staying out of foul trouble. McGhee is clearly one of the most frustrating Pitt players to watch, but when he does the little things right and is able to contribute, Pitt becomes that much more dangerous. Plus, when he's effective inside with the ball on offense, that just opens things up all the more on the outside.
Funny thing is that if UConn and Pitt were pretty equal in several categories including rebounds, free throws, and turnovers. If the Huskies don't come out and lay an egg shooting the ball (the ended at about 32% from the field), the game is probably much closer to what most of us expected.
One other thing to note is that Robinson got the start over Talib Zanna for the first time this season. Zanna had been on a steady decline while Nas has been getting better and better since missing the first part of the year due to injury. I questioned about a week ago if it was time to start Robinson again, and apparently Jamie Dixon thought it was. Nas has clearly been outplaying Talib and I'm glad that Dixon is giving the message that if you play well, you get minutes.
This is really a big win for Pitt. I don't expect UConn to have too many nights like this shooting the ball so poorly and if they hover around the top 10-15, this really turns into a high quality win come NCAA tournament seeding time. Pitt now gets a week off before facing Providence next Tuesday, so a jump in the polls is pretty likely.
One more thing - just heard that Pitt is 8-0 against top five teams all-time at the Pete. Just think about that for a second.