PITTSBURGH PA - DECEMBER 27: Brad Wanamaker #22 of the Pittsburgh Panthers lays one in against the Connecticut Huskies at Petersen Events Center on December 27 2010 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh defeated Connecticut 78-64. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
After UConn's 79-62 beatdown of Georgetown on Wednesday, the stage has been set for a rematch between the Huskies and the Panthers.
Yeah, I know it's a big game, and maybe I'll feel different tomorrow - but this kind of feels like an exhibition to me.
Pitt-UConn an exhibition? Have you lost your mind?
Maybe...and I'm sure this probably isn't a popular opinion. After all, this is a big-time game featuring two Big East rivals. After all - who doesn't like thinking about the Grizzly Blair treating Hasheem Thabeet like a dog treats a chew toy. Still, while those games usually are pretty good ones, I'm having a hard time getting up for this one.
Part of the problem is that it's during the work day. I'm guilty as charged for not knowing the particulars and ins and outs of scheduling, but why wouldn't ESPN want this game on during prime time? I know the schedule was made in advance, but a Pitt-UConn or Pitt-Georgetown game would draw pretty well, you'd think. And they had to know that a Pitt-DePaul matchup was as likely as Thabeet going on to a better NBA career than Blair. So the game's at noon - that's one thing.
Anyway, the Big East has always felt like a preview of the NCAAs to me. Now, if Pitt manages to get to the final, of course I'll be watching and treating it like a huge game. But, if Pitt gets bounced on Thursday, I just would have a hard time being upset about it.
That said, I hope Pitt plays a good game and the most important thing might be getting some guys like Dante Taylor and Lamar Patterson some tournament experience. Those two guys are big parts of the bench, but really have little post-season experience. It'd be nice to get them as many minutes in an elimination scenario as possible.
And then there's of course all the talk about advancing deep into the tournament hurting the team. While I definitely agree with that to a point, it would be nice for Pitt to probably play at least two games to avoid needing to shake off some rust. Pitt's been off since last weekend and if they happen to lose on Thursday, they'll have only played two games in 11 days. That's probably not enough to be completely sharp and it'd be nice for the Panthers to squeeze in one more game.
Another reason to hope for a victory is that a win should also wipe out any small chance that Pitt doesn't get an No. 1 seed in the NCAAs.
So the game means something...I guess.