1. Pittsburgh (28-4) – 16. East Tennessee State (23-10)
Analysis: East Tennessee State has a history of being a No. 16 seed, Twenty years removed from nearly upsetting No. 1 seed Oklahoma in the 1989 NCAA Tournament, losing to Oklahoma 72-71. East Tennessee State came the closest to knocking off a No. 1 seed while the streak is now at 98-0 for No. 1 seeds against No. 16 seeds. That number will likely¬†move to¬†100-0 after Pitt and Louisville play on Friday.
Scouting Report on East Tennessee State
East Tennessee State can push the floor and score as they are led by forward Kevin Tiggs (21.5 ppg). Tiggs, (6-4, 210 lbs) is an athletic forward who will matchup against Sam Young. Advantage Pitt
For East Tennessee State to have any success they will need great play from their backcourt. Guards Courtney Pigram (17.6 ppg) and Mike Smith (15.5 ppg) are their best hope. Pigram, Smith will need career performances, push the floor and hit outside shots. East Tennessee has no hope of being successful inside against DeJuan Blair
Jermaine Dixon will have the primary duty of containing Pigram
Pittsburgh’s Key to the game
1. Dominate from the start – Pittsburgh was very relax in their shoot around on Thursday and losing early in the Big East Tournament does not seem to be affecting them. The key for them will be setting the tone early like North Carolina and UConn did yesterday.
2. Develop Inside Game – East Tennessee State cannot matchup with Pitt inside and all Pitt needs to do is have efficient ball movement and pound the ball inside. They don’t want to get into a run-n-gun game. That would be playing into East Tennessee State’s hands.
Prediction – No surprise Pittsburgh wins easily (88 – 61)
News and Notes
No. 8 Oklahoma State vs No. 9 Tennessee
Prediction – Oklahoma State advances.
Look for No. 6 West Virginia to advance. They are going to be a dangerous team in the tournament. It’s a shame Joe Alexander didn’t stay in school for one more year. West Virginia would have been a serious final four contender. By declaring early Alexander might have hurt his development but he is set for life after being the #8 overall pick in last summers draft.