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Big East Tournament Basketball: Panthers Fall To UConn

Kemba Walker is looking like a strong candidate for Tournament MVP (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kemba Walker is looking like a strong candidate for Tournament MVP (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
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I'm not going to take too much time breaking down this loss to UConn. For starters, I've already mentioned my borderline lack of interest in this game. That said, there are a few things to take away from the game.

I really expected Pitt to win this game the more I thought about it. They were playing a team that had already played games the past two nights in a noon game. I never expected UConn to play that well.

Maybe that's the thing - not so much that Pitt lost, but that UConn really looked good.

You probably would never guess it by looking at the box score, though. Pitt shot 55% to UConn's 45%. They hit 8 of 11 from three-point range, while UConn hit only 3 of 12. Pitt also had more assists - 12 to 7.

But if there was any doubt just how important rebounding is to Pitt, this game was a great example. UConn only won the rebounding battle by three, but any time Pitt can't win on the glass puts them at a big disadvantage. They count so much on offensive rebounds and holding teams to one shot. Neither happened all that much as UConn had 13 offensive boards and Pitt only had eight.

Gary McGhee was also a complete non-factor. One point and two rebounds with four fouls? Pitt can do without his socring, but they need him to rebound at a much higher rate than that, obviously.

I don't know - I don't have a problem with seeing Pitt go out early in the tournament, but as I mentioned in the game preview it would have been nice to see them win one game just to prevent a bit of rust next week. But one thing I was extremely encouraged about was the strong first half that Pitt played. They've gotten off to a lot of slow starts and it'd be nice if they can do that again in the NCAAs.

Then of course, there was 'the play.' Kemba Walker managed to spring free of Gary McGhee (imagine that) and hit a jump shot for the game winner. Look, if there's anyone who can't be blamed for that play, it's McGhee. No way can he be expected to cover Walker in that situation. Brad Wanamaker is probably the biggest offender on that play. He did get screened, but after watching it several times, the screen was nothing he couldn't fight through. You've simply got to fight through the screen in that instance and while in the heat of the play, I won't go as far to say that Wanamaker should know that McGhee's over there and would be the one guarding Walker, it certainly didn't help that Pitt's center was the one on him in that instance - probably the biggest mismatch they could have had.

I also would have liked to see Gibbs or even Wanamaker step over to help or at the very least keep their eye on McGhee. You know Walker's taking that shot and with the clock running down, there's no question Pitt should have thrown a double team on him.

So where does this leave PItt as far as seeding? Well, it's probably too early to say, even though I'd lean towards still giving them a No. 1 seed. Where Duke and Notre Dame finish is going to have a big part of that.