Finally the Big East Schedule has started and TIOPS will begin picking up our coverage of Pitt and WVU. Pitt 1-0 in the Big East has a tough task ahead of them Saturday afternoon when they take on #8 Georgetown. This is a great game to start the new year for the Panthers and now the real games begin
Pitt 13-0 and ranked #3 nationally, have been in this territory before. The difference this year is maybe they actually have a player who can take over a game in Sam Young. The Panthers inability to have a player on their roster that could take over a game in the NCAA tournament is the reason they have yet to get past the sweet 16 during the Howland/Dixon era. Young is showing signs that he is that player.
Dejuan Blair looks much improved this year. He did a lot of weight training during the off-season and is in better shape. He wore down at the end of last season. I don’t expect that to be the case this season.
Jermaine Dixon has been the surprise of the season.
Another reason to be optimistic is because of the potential Pitt has on their bench. Pitt’s bench has been inconsistent at times but few teams in the country have a player like Gilbert Brown coming off the bench. Sophomore guard Brad Wanamaker scored 15 pts Wednesday night against Rutgers and Brown, Wanamaker and guard Ashton Gibbs are averaging 5 pts or more per game coming off of the bench. These three are only going to get better.
The West Virginia Mountaineers (10-2) are coming off of a big win against 13th ranked Ohio State take on Seton Hall Saturday afternoon. West Virginia is not at the elite level that Pitt, Georgetown, UCONN and Notre Dame are but Bob Huggins team will be a tough out in the Big East again. If Joe Alexander would have returned they would have been a final four contender.
Check in Saturday for post game reports