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Pitt vs. Marquette: Panthers have important test on Saturday

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

So, do we get good Pitt or bad Pitt? That's the question for Saturday's game against Marquette.

Good Pitt is what we saw this week at Georgetown. The team that won their non-conference games by nearly 30 points a contest. Bad Pitt was witnessed in an ugly road loss to Rutgers and in the second half of the Cincinnati game.

In case you're not aware, it's a pretty big one. Marquette isn't ranked, but it's really a game Pitt needs to have. The Golden Eagles are 2-0 in the conference with nice wins over UConn and Georgetown, but both games have also been at home. Playing at Pitt with the Panthers fresh off a 28-point beatdown over the Hoyas should be a tough test for them.

I won't exaggerate here and claim this is a must win for Pitt. It's still way too early to make such a ridiculous statement. But a win could go a long way in not only giving the players even more confidence, but also help the important NCAA resume situation. Wins against the bottom feeders in the conference are nice, but victories over good teams will boost Pitt's RPI and help their situation tremendously.

Marquette is having a pretty nice season so far. In addition to the two Big East wins, they've also beaten Wisconsin and LSU. Their losses include ranked Florida and a one-point loss to ranked Butler. There's been a head-scratching two-point loss to Green Bay, but many teams have slipped up and lost or almost lost to someone they shouldn't have (Oakland, anyone?).

That said, I'd be surprised if Pitt didn't pull this one out. Marquette is good, but not great and at home, Pitt should have the advantage. And this is nothing like the Golden Eagles' team that won 27 games last year. Without Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, the team is rebuilding a bit. It's also worth pointing out that Marquette has played only two road games and lost them both.

There's no denying the team is still pretty good, but this is a game Pitt can win. It might not be easy, but if Pitt can pass the test, I think it's safe to say most of us will feel better about the team's chances this season.

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