We might not have thought much of it when Dante Taylor was busted open as if he'd just been in a heavyweight fight in the Big East Tournament game against Syracuse, but with the Wichita State game today, Taylor may not be 100%.
Now, by all indications, Taylor will surely play - he says as much and that isn't the question. But it should be noted that Taylor suffered a bit in the days afterwards. For one thing, Taylor's face looks pretty jacked up as a result. According to the Post-Gazette's Ray Fittipaldo, he missed some practice this week and was even having some blurred vision at times.
No one is going to mistake Taylor for a star player, but he's extremely valuable to the team. He often provides offensive sparks off the bench and even more important, is the backup center. If Steven Adams manages to get into foul trouble, without an effective Taylor, the team is in a bind. No Taylor means moving power forward Talib Zanna to center and someone like J.J. Moore to power forward.
Taylor also could play an important role because the Shockers practically mirror the Panthers. Wichita State can give Pitt all it can handle on the boards and the Panthers need as much help there as they can get.
Pitt can play with that aforementioned rotation, but not having a backup center can cause all sorts of problems. It sounds as if he'll play, but the jury is out as to if he'll be at full strength.