2012 CBI Tournament: Pitt Defeats Washington State In Game 3 For CBI Championship

After returning home, the Pitt Panthers swept the final two games of the CBI finals, clinching the championship with a 71-65 win in game three.

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CBI Tournament 2012 Final Score: Pitt Wins Title Over Washington State

No, it’s not exactly an NCAA Tournament championship or even an NIT title for that matter, but Pitt has a postseason title under their belts with a 71-65 win over Washington State on Friday night. The Panthers struggled at times, but had command during most of the game.

Pitt took care of the most as well as they have all season. The team had only three turnovers and was a big reason they were able to get to put points on the scoreboard tonight.

Sophomore Lamar Patterson had a good series and was rewarded with the tournament Most Valuable Player award. Patterson had another do-it-all type of game with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and a steal. He’ll be counted on to do quite a bit next season and his development this season was a positive for the Panthers.

Star guard Ashton Gibbs sat out again with an ankle injury. He appeared hobbled at times in the huddles, so he appeared to still be in pain. Washington State was also again missing forward Brock Motum.

As bad as this season was for Pitt, there’s hope for next year. The Panthers were an extremely young team and while that will still be the case to a degree next season, the players will be a year older. The Panthers lose seniors Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson, but will be be gaining two pretty good freshmen, Steven Adams and James Robinson.

Pitt will no doubt continue to take criticism for participating in the CBI tournament. But as I’ve said all along, if they were going to play, it’s better to win while doing so. If you give the Panthers credit for nothing else, give them credit for playing well in the tournament.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog Cardiac Hill
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CBI Tournament Finals 2012: Pitt Closes Out Washington State In Game 3 For CBI Championship

The Pitt Panthers took care of home this week in the CBI Tournament Finals, sweeping game two and game three after dropping the opener against Washington State in Pullman. The Panthers turned it on the second half and clinched the title with a 71-65 win over the Cougars.

Playing without an injured Ashton Gibbs, Tray Woodall led was one of five Pitt players in double figures, and led the Panthers with 17 points. Woodall got into the lane and got to the line eight times against Wazzu. Lamar Patterson was a perfect six for six from the charity stripe, and added 14 points for Jamie Dixon's club. Big man Talib Zanna had one of his better offensive games of the season, scoring 12 points on just six shots from the floor.

After a roller coaster season that saw the Panthers go from a top 15 ranking to the cellar of the Big East Standings, a CBI Championships is a nice way to finish the season and a small consolation. The Panthers end the year at 22-17.

For more updates from this game, stay tuned to this StoryStream and SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more news and analysis on the Pittsburgh Panthers, make sure to stop by Cardiac Hill. For all the latest news from around college basketball, stop by the SB Nation NCAA Hub Page.

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CBI Basketball Tournament: Pitt Leads Washington State 38-35 At The Half

In the decisive Game 3 of the 2012 CBI, the Pitt Panthers hold a 38-35 lead at halftime at the Petersen Event Center.

The two teams have remarkably similar stat lines to this point, however the efforts of Tray Woodall and Lamar Patterson with 9 points each have given the Panthers the slim edge.

For Washington State, Mike Ladd has kept the Cougars within striking distance, as he also has nine points while shooting 3-of-3 from the field.

Pitt has benefited from taking advantage of Washington State mistakes, as seven of the team's points have come off turnovers. Look for them to continue to do the same in the second half.

For more updates from this game, stay tuned to this StoryStream and SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more news and analysis on the Pittsburgh Panthers, make sure to stop by Cardiac Hill. For all the latest news from around college basketball, stop by the SB Nation NCAA Hub Page.

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CBI Basketball Tournament 2012 Schedule And Bracket: Championship Game To Be Played On Friday

It has been a long, strange trip for the Pittsburgh Panthers this season, and it comes to an end on Friday. They'll face the Washington State Cougars in the third CBI Final game, this one is for all the marbles. The game starts at 7 pm, but unfortunately will not be available on television.

The CBI Championship series is all tied up at one after each team was able to earn close wins over the past week. The Cougars beat the Panthers by just one point on Monday, while Pittsburgh managed to win by four points when these schools last met on Wednesday. The Panthers were actually able to get a win on Wednesday despite being without their leader in Ashton Gibbs. We're still waiting on word one way or the other on if he will play on Friday. Having Gibbs back into the lineup would be a huge boost for the Panthers, even if his play is inconsistent.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog Cardiac Hill.

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2012 CBI Tournament Finals: Pitt And Washington State ... One. More. Time.

This is it – the game we’ve all been waiting for. Okay, not quite.

Pitt and Washington State will do battle one more time in the best-of-three series to claim the CBI championship. Both games have been close and there’s no reason to think the third game will be any different.

Each team can get a huge advantage with the return of their star players. Ashton Gibbs hasn’t been terribly consistent this season, but he’s still the team’s leading scorer. Gibbs missed the last game with an ankle injury and is status is in doubt. I’ve got to think that with this being his last chance to play in the Pete, he’ll be out there if at all possible.

Meanwhile, Washington State has been without star forward Brock Motum for both games. Motum is the Pac-12’s leading scorer and the team’s leading rebounder. The Cougars have hung right there with the Panthers in his absence, but there’s no doubt that they’d be much better if he could suit up.

Let’s be real – this hasn’t been a dream season for Pitt. Not only did they miss the NCAAs for the first time in a decade, but they couldn’t even get into the NIT. The CBI is a third-tier tournament, but while they could have folded and turned in an inferior effort, the Panthers have instead played some decent basketball. Winning a CBI trophy doesn’t mean that the season will be salvaged, but it would be a small consolation for a team that had such a down season.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill
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CBI Tournament Final Score: Pitt Holds On For 57-53 Victory Over Washington State

After holding a comfortable nine-point lead in the first half against Washington State, Pitt had to hold on until the very end to secure a victory.

The Panthers’ offense disappeared for much of the second half. So much so, that the team went more than seven minutes without a field goal over one stretch. That enabled the Cougars to come back and tie the game late. Pitt eventually opened up a six-point lead with about ten seconds left, but the fun wasn’t over just yet. Guarding a player, Pitt guard John Johnson was whistled for an intentional foul.

After two Washington State free throws and a quick basket, the Cougars found themselves down only two. But Lamar Patterson was fouled and hit both of the ensuing free throws, sealing the victory.

The frustrating thing for Pitt fans was that the game seemed to dominated by the Panthers, but they still found themselves in a nailbiter at the end. The team was without star guard Ashton Gibbs, but Washington State has also been without their star, Brock Motum, for both games. Their health is sure to be a topic of conversation over the next two days before the third and final game at the Pete.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill
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CBI Tournament Finals Score Update: Pitt Leads Washington State At Half, 29-20

In Game Two of the CBI Finals, Pitt leads Washington State 29-20 at the break.

The Panthers have thus far been able to survive without star guard Ashton Gibbs. Gibbs has an injured ankle and it was announced before the game that he would sit out tonight’s contest. Also missing in action is Washington State star, Brock Motum. Motum missed the first game of the series after suffering an injury against Oregon State in the semifinals and he’s not yet ready to come back.

Gibbs’ absence has meant that Cameron Wright and little-used Isaiah Epps are getting playing time. The duo hasn’t contributed all that much (a combined two points and two assists), but as long as others pick up the scoring, that’s not a huge problem.

Pitt’s being led right now by Nasir Robinson and Tray Woodall, both with six points. The Panthers are shooting 50 percent from the field and playing well on defense. The Cougars are shooting under 40 percent, and Pitt has been much more aggressive in guarding players out on the perimeter than in the first game.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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Ashton Gibbs Injury: Pitt Star Out With Ankle Injury

The Pittsburgh Panthers are close to tipping off with the Washington State Cougars and will be without Big East Player of The Year Ashton Gibbs, as the senior guard is out with an ankle injury.

Gibbs leads Pitt in scoring with 14.6 points per game and leads the team in three-point shots made. Without Gibbs in the line up, the Pitt offense is going to take a pretty significant hit against the Cougars. In the matchup on Monday against Wazzu, Gibbs picked up just seven points on the night, but that was an atypical performance for the senior in the one-point loss.

We'll have complete coverage of the CBI Championship series in this StoryStream, but for more on the CBI Finals and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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2012 CBI Basketball Tournament Schedule: Washington State Vs. Pitt Series Continues Wednesday

Game Two of the CBI championship takes place in Pittsburgh at 7:00 Wednesday night between the Washington State Cougars and the Pitt Panthers.

After losing 67-66 in Pullman on Monday, the Panthers will need to win to force a decisive third game. The Cougars were without top scorer Brock Motum, but Pitt shot poorly down the stretch and couldn't cash in on a couple opportunities to win the game in its waning seconds.

It's unclear whether Motum (ankle) will be able to play on Wednesday. Either way, the Panthers will need to get something going at home. But if previous CBI matchups are any indication, they might not get much help from their home crowd. They had an attendance of 1,449 in their first-round matchup at home against Wofford, then got 2,001 in the second-round matchup against Princeton. Cardiac Hill is optimistic that attendance will be somewhat better now that Pitt is in the championship series, but the Panthers still probably won't draw enough to fill the Petersen Events Center.

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CBI Tournament 2012: Pitt In Elimination Scenario Against Washington State

After dropping Game 1 of the Best of Three series against Washington State in the CBI Tournament, Pitt heads home to take on the Cougars on Wednesday night. Having lost that first game, the Panthers have their backs up against the wall and are in an elimination scenario.

Pitt played a decent game on Monday night, but after starting well, faltered a bit in the second half. They had plenty of chances to win (four in the final six seconds), but couldn’t convert, missing a free throw, layup attempt, and two shots from the field.

The Panthers also had a bit of a break as Washington State was playing without star forward Brock Motum. Motum was injured in the team’s win against Oregon State last week and missed the Pitt contest, but could be ready to go on Wednesday. If that’s the case, the Panthers will need to play that much harder.

Pitt has gotten several big contributions from unlikely sources, but one player who needs to step up is Ashton Gibbs. Gibbs has struggled all year and he hasn’t even reached his season average in any of the four CBI games. Gibbs has only seven points in the last two games and is averaging only about seven points a game for the tournament.

The Panthers have proven they can without Gibbs, but they would be a much better team with even a small increase in production from their leading scorer.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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CBI Tournament Final Score: Despite Opportunities, Pitt Can't Convert At End Against Washington State

For a half, Pitt appeared to be in control of Game One of the CBI Finals against Washington State. They held only a narrow three-point halftime lead, but the offense was clicking and if the defense could improve just a bit, an opening series win looked possible. Unfortunately for Pitt, games consist of two halves and for much of the second half, the Panthers’ offense disappeared.

Pitt suffered a 2-15 shooting stretch in the second half and fell behind in double digits. That lead proved just out of reach for Pitt in the end, but they weren’t without their chances.

If you’re a Pitt fan, it’s hard to be disappointed with the number of opportunities the Panthers had to win the game. Down only two, Pitt had the chance to tie the game or pull ahead with a three. Lamar Patterson missed a shot, but that was far from the end. The Cougars promptly missed a free throw and Talib Zanna was fouled. Had he made both free throws, the game could have gone to overtime. But after converting only one, Pitt still found themselves down by a point.

Even with only four seconds left, Pitt still would find itself with two more chances to win. Washington State missed the first free throw and after a timeout, Tray Woodall caught the inbounds pass around midcourt, but missed a wild layup attempt. The clock was kind, though, and the Panthers had yet another shot to win the game with .8 seconds remaining. With a fairly good look, Lamar Patterson missed a fadeaway shot at the end and Pitt was finally done.

Watching this game was incredibly frustrating from the Pitt side of things. The Panthers had so many chances to win the game and simply couldn’t get it done. The good news is that they get the next two games at home, but the flip side is that Washington State leading scorer and rebounder Brock Motum could be back after missing tonight’s contest. Pitt may have home court advantage, but they will still have their work cut out for them – especially if the offense disappears for another long stretch.

For more on the series and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog Cardiac Hill.

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CBI Tournament 2012 Finals, Pittsburgh Vs. Washington State Recap: Panthers Drop Opening Game By One

The Pittsburgh Panthers dropped the opening game of the CBI finals to Washington State by a narrow one-point margin. It was a back-and-forth game, with Pitt jumping comfortably out in front in the first half and then falling behind by double digits midway through the second. There was little defense and both teams shot the lights out but the Cougars went on a 7-0 run at the nine-minute mark to really take momentum with a 12-point lead.

Pitt had a chance to tie it at 67 but Talib Zanna, who was fouled crashing the offensive glass, split the pair of free-throws. Pitt still had two more opportunities in the final four seconds to go ahead but a Tray Woodall desperation attempt and last-second Lamar Patterson heave were off the mark.

Pitt's defense at the three-point line was non-existent all evening, and in the second half, the Cougars started getting consistent penetration as well. Wazzu finished the game shooting 60 percent from behind the arc and better than 50 percent from the field.

Tray Woodall and J.J. Moore led Pitt with 16 points each. Woodall did most of his damage in the first half, when the Pitt offense was really in rhythm. The Panthers actually played a pretty efficient and clean game on the offensive end -- shooting it well and limiting turnovers. But they simply could not get any stops on the other end and the Cougars took the opening game.

Fortunately for Pitt, it's a best of three series with the final two games taking place at the Oakland Zoo. Game two is set for Wednesday evening.

We'll have complete coverage of the CBI Championship series in this StoryStream, but for more on the CBI Finals and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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CBI Tournament 2012 Finals, Pittsburgh Vs. Washington State Score Update: Panthers Lead By Three At Half

After one half of game one of the 2012 CBI finals, the Pitt Panthers lead Washington State 38-35 in Pullman. Pitt was on fire from behind the arc, particularly down the stretch as Tray Woodall went on a personal run to build the lead for Jamie Dixon's club. The Panthers hit seven of 13 attempts from three-point range for an impressive 54 percent mark. They played a crisp and efficient first half, shooting it well but also only committing two turnovers.

Woodall leads all scorers with 11 points. He had eight quick points in a two minute stretch after the under four timeout. While Woodall was hitting from outside, it was Nasir Robinson doing the work on the inside for Pitt. The senior had only two points in the overtime win against Butler but he has nine points already against the Cougars. The athletic J.J. Moore has provided a spark off the bench for months now, and he's added eight points again tonight.

While Pitt is shooting well, Wazzu is right there with them and has missed only two attempts from downtown so far. The Cougars are shooting better than 60 percent from the field. This is a best of three series with the final two games set to take place at Pitt. It would be a huge boost to take the first game on the road and give the Panthers some cushion before they come home.

We'll have complete coverage of the CBI Championship series in this StoryStream, but for more on the CBI Finals and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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CBI Tournament 2012 Schedule And Bracket: Pitt Meets Washington State In Finals

The CBI Tournament doesn't get a ton of publicity while its bigger brothers are in session, but the CBI will get its spotlight game on Monday with the first game of the three-game championship series, featuring Pitt and Washington State, at 10:00 p.m. You can find the full schedule for the championship series here.

Pitt got to this game with a 68-62 overtime victory over Butler last week, while Washington State used a 72-66 win over Oregon State to move into this round. Pitt was two games better overall this season, but the Cougars had a better record in conference. That could point to the quality of the Big East Vs. the lack of quality in the Pac-12, but it also indicates this should be a pretty well-fought series.

We'll have complete coverage of the CBI Championship series in this StoryStream, but for more on the CBI Finals and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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CBI Tournament Finals: Washington State Could Be Without Star Brock Motum Against Pitt

Pitt takes on Washington State in the CBI final series, but the Cougars could be without their star in the first game.

Forward Brock Motum was injured, spraining his ankle early in Washington State’s victory against Oregon State last week. He didn’t return in the game and his coach says that there’s a slim chance he plays in the first game against Pitt.

Motum is so injured that he’s even been on crutches so his coach’s assessment might not be that far off. He is the Pac-12’s leading scorer and was the Cougars’ best rebounder this season, so it’s safe to say that if he can’t play, Washington State will be at a disadvantage. The team was able to overcome his absence through most of the game against Oregon State, but they’ll be better off the sooner Motum can get back into the lineup.

For more on the CBI Finals and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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CBI Championship: Pitt Facing Washington State On Monday

In reaching the finals of the CBI, the Panthers have hardly redeemed their lost season. Still, for a team that has floundered so much through a large chunk of the year, winning three games in a row is at least a small accomplishment.

The Panthers could have quite easily folded up their tent when they were passed up by even the NIT, but in the CBI, they’ve played motivated and have earned the right to play in the final. There, they’ll face the Washington State Cougars out of the Pac-12.

Like Pitt, the Cougars weren’t a great team during the regular season. They lost their few non-conference games of any great consequence and playing in a down Pac-12 this season, only managed a 7-11 record. But Washington State has been renewed since playing in the CBI and have dominated each of their opponents.

In their three games, they’ve won by an average margin of 17 points. Just as impressive is that Washington State managed to win two of those games on the road. Pitt has home court advantage in this series, hosting two of the quirky ‘best of three’, but the Cougars have shown they can win on the road as they’ve also come out on top in two of their three non-conference away games.

For Pitt to win the series, things will go much smoother if they can contain Brock Motum, the Pac-12’s leading scorer at 18 points a game. Motum also pulls in a team-high 6.5 rebounds a game. Another scary thing about the 6-foot-10 forward is that he’s capable of stepping out and hitting three-pointers. Motum’s hit 40% of the 73 he’s taken this season, so Pitt will need to defend him out around the arc.

Another thing the Panthers need is continued production from their bench. Pitt’s offense struggled mightily this season without scoring from their reserves during the season. But in the CBI tournament, they’ve scored just under 30 points a game. If Pitt gets that many points from the bench, they’ll be difficult to beat.

For more on the series and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog Cardiac Hill
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CBI Championship: Schedule For Pitt Vs. Washington State Series

The Pitt Panthers advanced to the finals of the CBI with a 68-62 overtime win over Butler on Wednesday, and they'll take on Washington State. The Cougars beat Oregon State 72-55 Wednesday night.

The first game of the best-of-three series will take place Monday at 10:00 p.m., with the second game taking place Wednesday at 7:00 and the third, if it's needed, coming next Friday at 7:00. Washington State will host the first game, and Pitt will host the last two.

Even after three CBI wins (the others game against San Francisco and Wyoming), Washington State is just 18-16. That's only slightly worse than the Panthers' 20-16 mark, but Pitt has played against much, much tougher competition. The Cougars' highest-profile wins this year might have been those against Cal and Stanford. For whatever it's worth, Pitt should be the favorite.

The Cougars are led by junior forward Brock Motum, who has averaged 18 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this season.

The Panthers' home games in the CBI have been very sparsely attended. They'll have a few more eyes on them in the first game of the series in Pullman, but perhaps not that many more -- the Cougars drew 3,019 fans in their only CBI home game so far, the one against Wyoming.

For more on Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill.

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Pitt Vs. Butler Final Score: Panthers Win To Advance To CBI Finals

After a second half of back and forth basketball, Pitt held on to advance past Butler and into the CBI Finals with an overtime 68-62 win.

After a quick glance at the box score, you might be scratching your head as to how the Panthers pulled this one out. Star guard Ashton Gibbs didn’t only have a bad game, but he was held scoreless for the first time all season. He was 0-8 from the field and couldn’t get anything going all night. Fellow senior Nasir Robinson didn’t play well, either, going 1-8 and scoring only two points.

Their play was overcome, in part, by the bench. Pitt’s reserves had one of their best games all season, scoring a combined 35 points. Talib Zanna and J.J. Moore had the big games, with a combined 29 points and 13 rebounds. Their play is extremely encouraging considering both are expected to play key roles next season. Neither has been entirely consistent this year, but they have really played well in the tournament.

The Panthers looked out of it, trailing by four with about two minutes left in regulation. But the defense held strong and Pitt made four consecutive free throws to tie it up late. Down three, the Panthers’ Lamar Patterson made a huge three-pointer with under a minute left. Pitt committed a costly foul with four seconds on the clock, reminding fans of the disaster that was the 2011 NCAA Tournament game between the two schools. But Butler surprisingly missed both free throws to send the game to overtime, giving Pitt a second chance. Free throws played a big part in the decision as Pitt shot 80% to Butler’s 57%.

Tray Woodall didn’t play well much of the game, but he may have been Pitt’s MVP tonight. The junior point guard scored nine of his 12 points in overtime and was perfect from the field and free throw line. He overcame a sluggish start and really propelled Pitt to victory.

Up next for Pitt is the winner of Washington State and Oregon State in a best of three championship round.

For more on the CBI Finals and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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Pitt Vs. Butler Score Update: Panthers Clinging To 26-24 Halftime Lead

With one half down, Pitt leads Butler in the CBI semifinals, 26-24.

The Panthers haven’t shown nearly the offensive skill as they did in their first two CBI wins against Wofford and Princeton. Part of that is undoubtedly due to playing against a fairly good team, but part has been the Panthers’ own doing, shooting just under 37% from the field missing a variety of inside shots.

Pitt star Ashton Gibbs is struggling the most. He’s 0-6 from the field and was held scoreless the entire half. Lamar Patterson, who’s played well this season, is also only 1-4.

One reason the Panthers find themselves still in the game is that Butler is playing even worse offensively. The Bulldogs are hitting fewer than 35% of their shots and are 2-9 from three-point range. Another reason for Pitt’s narrow lead is the excellent play from the bench. 19 of the team’s 26 points have come from the reserves and J.J. Moore is leading the way with ten points. His late three-pointer gave the Panthers a late lead going into the break.

This one is looking like a battle of which offense is the most deficient. The good news is that Pitt is still in it and a win would propel the Panthers into the finals.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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2012 CBI Schedule And Bracket: Pitt Vs. Butler, Washington State Vs. Oregon State In Semifinals

The Final Four of the CBI takes place Wednesday night, and the Pitt Panthers will be there, staring down an old foe. Pitt takes on Butler, which knocked it out of last year's NCAA Tournament, at 8:00 p.m.

Butler doesn't look particularly intimidating this year, having gone just 11-7 in the weak Horizon League and not beating a ranked team all year, but don't forget that the Bulldogs only went 13-5 in league play last season. It was during tournament time that they really went nuts.

This season, they were blown out by Valparaiso in the semifinals of the Horizon tournament, but they've beaten Delaware and Penn so far in the CBI. They'll also have home-court advantage.

The other semifinal game is between Washington State and Oregon State, and that one is at 10:00 p.m. Oddly, Washington (not Washington State, but Washington) played Oregon (not Oregon State, but Oregon) in the NIT Tuesday night. Washington State has taken two of three contests from the Beavers this season.

For more Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill.

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CBI Tournament Bracket 2012: Pitt Vs. Butler In Final Four Matchup

Pitt’s finally reached a Final Four under Jamie Dixon’s watch. Sure, it’s the CBI instead of the NCAAs, but that’s a mere technicality … right? Ironically, the team standing in the way of the Panthers reaching the final are the Butler Bulldogs. The Bulldogs stopped Pitt in the NCAA Tournament last season, bouncing the No. 1-seeded Panthers.

Unlike Pitt’s two previous games, the Panthers will not be at home for this one. Playing on their home court, Butler will have a clear advantage on that front and that could mean trouble for Pitt.

The Bulldogs have won 22 games this season, but aren’t the same team that reached the final game of the NCAAs last season. Butler hasn’t been competitive in most of their major tests this season, losing by double figures to Gonzaga, Louisville, Xavier, and Indiana. The Bulldogs did beat Purdue and Stanford in close games, though, so they’re more than capable of hanging with Pitt.

Butler is without a true star player. No one on the team averages more than 11 points a game and the Bulldogs haven’t relied on any single player to dominate on offense. But they do have balance and have several players capable of stepping up to have big games.

Pitt’s biggest challenge may come in trying to defend 6-foot-11 junior center Andrew Smith. Smith leads the team in scoring, averaging only 10.7 points a game, but he’s capable of much more. He’s topped 15 points in seven games this year and scored more than 20 three times.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, will have its hands full with a Pitt offense that is suddenly clicking on all cylinders. The Panthers have averaged 81.5 points a game in their two CBI contests, shooting better than 53 percent from the field. Pitt has also found a way to dramatically cut back on their turnovers and has had a combined 14 in the tournament. If the Panthers play as well as they have in games against Wofford and Princeton, they’ll be difficult to beat.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill
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Pitt Vs. Princeton: With Win, Panthers Into Final Four Against Butler

Pitt’s win over Princeton on Monday night catapulted the Panthers into a Final Four matchup against Butler in the CBI Tournament. A Final Four in the CBI isn’t quite the same as an NCAA Tournament Final Four, but regardless, Pitt is in after they had a surprisingly easy time with the Tigers on Monday, winning 82-61.

The Panthers contained Princeton forward Ian Hummer to some degree, but he still ended up with a big game (14 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks). The name of the game for Pitt, though, was again balance on offense.

As was the case against Wofford in the opening round of the tournament, the Panthers got contributions from a variety of sources. The team was led by Lamar Patterson’s 19 points, but Tray Woodall also chipped in with 15 points and 11 assists. Nasir Robinson added 12 points and ten rebounds and Ashton Gibbs and Talib Zanna also got into double figures in scoring.

Another positive is that several of Pitt’s younger players saw significant time. Talib Zanna played 20 minutes, J.J. Moore had 18, and Cam Wright had 12. John Johnson played only six minutes, but he saw a lot of time in the opener against Wofford.

One thing I would like to see is Jamie Dixon finding more time for freshman center Malcolm Gilbert. Gilbert played only two minutes against Princeton and has played a meager three minutes in all in the CBI tournament. Much is still up in the air, but if incoming freshman Steven Adams comes in next season to play center, Gilbert could be the primary backup at center if Dante Taylor and Talib Zanna are asked to play power forward. It’d be nice to give Gilbert a few more minutes at the end of this season if at all possible to give him some more game experience before he fills such a big role.

For more on Pitt basketball and the team’s next matchup against Butler, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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CBI Scores: Pitt Beats Princeton, Perhaps Setting Up Pitt Vs. Butler Rematch

Pitt advanced to the semifinals of the CBI on Monday by thrashing Princeton, 81-62, in yet another sparsely-populated game.

The Panthers had a 49-25 lead at the half. Their scoring slowed in the second half, and Princeton got to within 11 near the end of the second half, but the Panthers’ lead was too great.

Tray Woodall had a huge game for the Panthers, posting 15 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. Lamar Patterson had 19 points, while Nasir Robinson had 12 points and 10 blocks.

In the semifinals, Pitt will play the winner of Monday night’s Butler vs. Penn tilt. A Butler matchup would be the most appealing — the Bulldogs bounced the Panthers from the 2011 NCAA Tournament. If Butler wins, Pitt would head to Indianapolis to face them Wednesday night. If Penn wins, the game will be in Pittsburgh.

The other two CBI games Monday night are Wyoming vs. Washington State and TCU vs. Oregon State.

For more on Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill.

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Princeton Vs. Pitt Score: Panthers Breezing Through Second Round Of CBI

At halftime in the second round of the CBI, Pitt is destroying Princeton, 49-25.

Pitt had no problem with Wofford in the first round, and it looks like the Panthers will continue to breeze through Round 2. Lamar Patterson leads Pitt with 15 points, while Tray Woodall has 12 points and six assists.

Pitt jumped out to a 10-2 lead after Nasir Robinson began the game with two buckets and Ashton Gibbs and Woodall both hit threes. The Panthers let Princeton back into the game a bit after that, culminating when Mack Darrow hit two threes (with a Gibbs three sandwiched in there) to cut the lead to 22-19. After that, though, it was all Panthers, as Pitt hit one three-pointer after another, and ended the half on a 14-0 run.

Pitt is currently 8-of-14 from behind the three-point line. Princeton is 7-of-14. But the Panthers have been far more successful shooting from closer range, hitting 56 percent of their shots overall while Princeton is at 38 percent.

For more on Pitt basketball and the CBI, check out Cardiac Hill.

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2012 CBI Tournament Schedule And Bracket: Pitt Vs. Princeton

While the 2012 NCAA Tournament continues to hog all of the attention of basketball fans this time of year, there are some good teams struggling to gain notoriety in the CBI tournament, and that includes the Pitt Panthers. They face the Princeton Tigers on Monday night in a quarterfinal matchup.

Princeton is a very good team that nearly made the NCAA Tournament, but they lost out on the Ivy League's automatic bid late in the season to Harvard. Pittsburgh will be favored in this game pretty heavily, but Princeton actually won two more games than the Panthers this year. The game starts at 7 pm ET.

There are three other quarterfinal matchups that will also be played on Monday night. Former Cinderella Butler will take on Penn, TCU will face Oregon State and Wyoming will take on Washington State.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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Pitt Vs. Princeton: Panthers Face 20-Win Tigers In Second Round Of CBI Tournament

With a first-round win against Wofford, Pitt moves on to play Princeton at the Pete Monday night. The Panthers had an easy time in that first game, winning by 18, but things will probably be a bit more difficult against the Tigers.

In winning its first game, Princeton moved to 20-11 on the year. The team will provide a tough test for a Pitt team that played well in its first tournament game, but has largely struggled this season.

The Tigers play in the Ivy League, but also took on some good competition along the way. Princeton didn’t just play those teams, but beat many of them. The Tigers defeated Rutgers and ACC tournament champion, Florida State on the road this season. They also lost by only six combined points to Sweet 16 North Carolina State and Drexel, who just missed the NCAAs and won 27 games in the regular season.

The Panthers’ biggest challenge will probably be trying to contain forward Ian Hummer. Hummer is the Tigers’ best player averaging more than 16 points and seven rebounds per game. At 6-foot-7, the Panthers have the size to defend him, but Pitt’s frontcourt has had trouble against skilled forwards and centers this season. The key to the game may be how well Nasir Robinson, Dante Taylor, and Talib Zanna cover him.

On offense, the key will be trying to get a good balance of contributions like Pitt did against Wofford. The Panthers had five players in double figures in scoring in that game and if that happens again, look for a Pitt win on Monday.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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CBI Scores And Bracket: Pitt, Penn, Butler, Wyoming, Oregon State All Advance

Pitt, Penn, Butler, Wyoming, and Oregon State all won Wednesday night to advance to the second round of the College Basketball Invitational, joining Princeton, Washington State and TCU.

Pitt defeated Wofford 81-63 in by far the worst-attended Pitt game in the history of the Petersen Events Center. Penn knocked off Quinnipiac, 74-63. Butler easily beat Delaware, 75-58. Wyoming edged North Dakota State, 78-75. And Oregon State beat Western Illinois, 80-59.

Now that the first round is over, here are the CBI matchups for the second round.

TCU vs. Oregon State
Wyoming vs. Washington State
Butler vs. Penn
Princeton vs. Pitt

Pitt, Penn, Washington State and Butler will be the home teams, and these four matchups will all take place March 19. The CBI will announce game times and TV information on Thursday. It's not yet clear who would play who in the semifinals after the second round is over, but the possibility of a Pitt vs. Butler matchup is creating a little bit of buzz on Twitter. Butler upset Pitt en route to the 2011 NCAA Tournament Championship Game.

For more Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill.

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Wofford Vs. Pitt Score: Panthers Use Depth And Take Care Of Ball In Opening Victory

If the first game was any indication of how Pitt intends to play in the CBI Tournament, then the Panthers will be a tough out. In defeating Wofford by 18 points at home, Pitt played one of its most complete games of the season.

The key on offense was a balanced attack. Five players scored at least a dozen points and Pitt shot a healthy 55 percent from the field. Even though the Panthers only got to the line for an astonishingly low three free throw attempts, Pitt didn’t need more than that.

The team was also red hot from long distance hitting 14 of 25 three-pointers on the night. Gibbs and Woodall combined for eight and Pitt actually shot better there (56 percent) than it did from the field.

But offensive fireworks aside, a big reason the team was so efficient was because it took care of the ball. The Panthers’ six turnovers on the game was one of their lowest totals all season. They’ve had trouble in that area all season and that contributed to their woes.

All in all, it was a nearly perfect effort. But the competition will get ratcheted up a notch when Pitt takes on Princeton in the next game. The Tigers are 20-11 on the season and had some nice wins, beating Florida State, Rutgers, and a ranked Harvard team all on the road. Pitt will have its hands full with a pretty solid team. Throw in Pitt’s wild inconsistencies and there’s no way of knowing which team will show up in their next game.

For more on the CBI Tournament and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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Wofford Vs. Pitt CBI Final Score: Panthers Win Easily, Advance To Face Princeton

In a result I’m sure basketball fans the world over can’t wait to read about, the Pitt Panthers had a big first half to defeat Wofford in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational, 81-63.

Wofford actually outscored the Panthers in the second half, 40-39, but that didn’t matter, as a 16-0 run by Pitt in the first half built a huge lead. Tray Woodall, J.J. Moore, Ashton Gibbs, Lamar Patterson, and Talib Zanna all scored in double digits for the Panthers, with Woodall and Moore leading the way with 16 points apiece. Nasir Robinson contributed six points and 11 rebounds.

The question in many Panthers’ fans minds, of course, is why Pitt is playing in the CBI to begin with, but at least the Panthers didn’t embarrass themselves by losing to an obscure school in the first round. They’ll now move on to face Princeton in the second round on March 19.

In other CBI news, Penn currently has a healthy 52-38 lead on Quinnipiac in the middle of the second half, and Butler leads Delaware 29-22 near the end of the first half.

For more Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill. For more CBI action, check out the rest of this StoryStream.

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2012 CBI Scores: Pitt Beating Wofford In First Half

At halftime, the Pitt Panthers are, unsurprisingly, destroying Wofford, 39-21, in the first round of the CBI. Tray Woodall has 10 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Panthers, while Lamar Patterson has nine points, and Nasir Robinson has six points and seven rebounds.

The Panthers made a questionable decision by agreeing to play in the CBI in the first place, but at least they’re making the best of a bad situation so far. Beginning about four minutes into the half, the Panthers went on a 16-point run, capped by an Ashton Gibbs three-pointer that led Wofford to take a timeout. The rest of the half wasn’t nearly one-sided, but it ended with a three-pointer by J.J. Moore as time expired. Moore got all of his eight first-half points in the last 90 seconds.

Pitt would play Princeton if they beat Wofford. Princeton, Washington State and TCU won in Tuesday night's action.

For more on Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill. Here’s a complete CBI bracket.

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College Basketball Invitational 2012 Schedule And Bracket: Pitt In Action Against Wofford, Will Face Princeton In Quarterfinals With A Win

The Pitt Panthers postseason tips off on Wednesday night, when Jamie Dixon's club will host Wofford at the Petersen Events Center. The Terriers were 12-6 in the SoCon and finished the season 19-13 overall. They knocked off a weak Wake Forest team early in the season, but have few other signature wins. The Panthers are currently heavy favorites and are giving 13 points.

The CBI officially started on Tuesday with three games tipping off. If they get past Wofford, Pitt will be facing the Princeton Tigers, who defeated Evansville 95-86. The Tigers are historically known for slowing down the pace of the game and low-scoring slugfests, but they shot the lights out on the road and nearly hit the century mark. The Panthers would face Princeton next Monday if they advance.

Washington State and TCU also advanced on Tuesday night. The remaining ten teams will be in action on Wednesday. A complete schedule for Wednesday night below:

Delaware @ Butler Indianapolis, Ind. 8pm ET

Western Illinois @ Oregon State Corvallis, Ore. 10pm ET

Wofford @ Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pa. 7pm ET

Quinnipiac @ Penn Philadelphia, Pa. 7:30pm ET

North Dakota State @ Wyoming Laramie, Wyo. 9pm ET

The bracket:

Screen_shot_2012-03-13_at_11

For more on this matchup and the impending March Madness season, check out SB Nation's college basketball hub. Stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh for more Pitt recaps, previews and news updates. For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers and their tournament run, visit Cardiac Hill.

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CBI Tournament 2012: Pitt Vs. Wofford

Pitt takes on Wofford in their opening game of the CBI Tournament on Wednesday.

In the Terriers, the Panthers will face a team that won 19 games and finished second in the Southern Conference. Still, Wofford has struggled against top competition and probably will find defeating the Panthers a bit difficult.

Pitt has scored more and shot and rebounded better than the Terriers, doing it all against better competition this season.

The Panthers haven’t been great at home this year, going 11-7. But a game at the Pete should give Pitt a sizable advantage over the visiting Terriers. Wofford has been a respectable 7-9 on the road this season, but have only defeated one team away from home with a winning record (The College of Charleston). And against other schools from major conferences, Wofford has gone 1-3. The Terriers defeated Wake Forest, but lost to South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Georgia by a combined average of nearly 20 points a game.

Wofford also isn’t as deep as Pitt. The Panthers have ten players who average at least ten minutes a game to the Terriers’ seven. If Pitt can get any of Wofford’s starters in foul trouble, the Terriers will be even more shorthanded.

Add it all up, and Pitt should move onto the second round.

For more about the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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2012 CBI Tournament Schedule And Bracket: CBI Begins With Three Games On Tuesday

As you've probably heard about -- and chuckled about -- by now, the Pitt Panthers are paying to play in the College Basketball Invitational. The Panthers don't play their game against Wofford until Wednesday, but the ferociously intense Panthers fans among you may be mildly curious about Tuesday's slate of games, since the Princeton vs. Evansville matchup at 8:00 p.m. will determine the opponent the Panthers will face in the second round, unless Wofford beats them.

Here's Tuesday's schedule.

Princeton vs. Evansville (Evansville, Ind., 8:00 p.m.)
Washington State vs. San Francisco (San Francisco, 10:00 p.m.)
Milwaukee vs. TCU (Fort Worth, 8:00 p.m.)

That leaves Wofford vs. Pittsburgh, Delaware vs. Butler, Western Illinois vs. Oregon State, Quinnipiac vs. Penn, and North Dakota State vs. Wyoming for Wednesday. A full CBI schedule can be found here.

Evansville has a 16-15 record in 2011 and came in sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference, although the Aces did beat Creighton (before getting destroyed by 28 points in a rematch a few weeks later). Princeton has a 19-11 record, and its highest-profile win has been against Harvard.

For more on Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill.

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2012 CBI Tournament Bracket: Pitt Vs. Wofford - TIckets Now On Sale

Yes, Pitt hosting the CBI is a tremendous disappointment. But the fact remains that the event provides another chance to catch the Panthers.

With a waiting list for season tickets, not all fans can get into a Pitt game all that easily. That will change as the Panthers host Wofford in the first round of the CBI tournament.

Tickets are now on sale through the university’s athletics department website and they’re even affordable. $30.00 courtside seats may already be sold out, but other tickets everywhere else in the arena are only $20.00. Plenty of good seats remained as of Monday night and the chance even exists that Pitt walks away with a win, since the Panthers are big favorites.

Even with the inexpensive tickets, it will be interesting to see what type of crowd Pitt draws to the game. The Panthers don’t even draw all that well for some of their non-conference games and with the season nearing completion, how many fans will care enough to make the trip to the game in the middle of the week.

For a full CBI bracket, click here.

For more on Pitt’s game against the Wofford and the Panthers’ basketball program, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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2012 CBI Tournament Reactions: Pitt Gets Some Playing Time For Young Players

The Pittsburgh Panthers missed out on both the 2012 NCAA Tournament and the 2012 NIT Tournament, but they did accept an invite to the 2012 CBI Tournament. Pitt will take on Wofford in the first round of the CBI Tournament, but Pitt fans don't seem to like the idea of continuing on a disappointing season. The folks over at Cardiac Hill are none to pleased with the idea of playing in the CBI.

Why? I get the idea of getting the younger guys some more playing time and practice. I don't want to come off as high and mighty, but why continue a completely disappointing and miserable season by playing teams like North Dakota State or Evansville? Personally, I would just end the season, accept the fact that Pitt was bad and really doesn't deserve a postseason bid, and look towards next season. Especially since Pitt is paying $60,000 to host a game.

The only real benefit to playing in the tournament is that it adds more practice and playing time for young players, but it also carries the risk of paying to play a game you could lose, adding further embarrassment to a poor season.

For more on this matchup and the impending March Madness season, check out SB Nation's college basketball hub. Stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh for more Pitt recaps, previews and news updates. For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers and their tournament run, visit Cardiac Hill. Brackets on the brain? Us too! Play Yahoo! Tourney Pick'em and be a part of the craziest month of college basketball. It is fun, easy, and free.

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2012 CBI Bracket: Panthers' CBI Acceptance Offers Little Reward

When Pitt didn’t get into the NCAAs or NIT, the Panthers decided their season still needed to continue by accepting a bid in the CBI.

Insert crickets chirping effect here
.

The Panthers have every right to continue their season, but the reward of doing so by playing in the CBI is insignificant.

Head coach Jamie Dixon will likely point to the fact that he needs to get his young players more time and let them experience a tournament feel. While participating in the CBI does accomplish that to a degree, it’s not even close to comparing to the NCAAs.

For starters, Pitt will play its first game at home. Hosting a game isn’t close to playing a neutral site contest. The Panthers also aren’t going to face the type of competition they would if they played in the NCAA. These are teams that, like Pitt, weren’t very good this season. There’s also the very real possibility that Pitt even makes an early exit and doesn’t go very far. The Panthers could be so disinterested that an early exit occurs.

Even if Pitt plays extremely well, advances, and wins the entire tournament, it’s not a title that would ever be celebrated. The reward in all of this is fairly minimal when you think about it.

Personally, I don’t understand the move. If Pitt wants actual tournament experience, they would be better off playing in a real non-conference early season tournament against tough competition.

For more on the CBI and Pitt basketball, head over to SB Nation’s blog, Cardiac Hill.

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2012 CBI Bracket: Pitt To Take Shot In College Basketball Invitational, Will Play First Game Against Wofford

The Duquesne Dukes decided not to play in the College Basketball Invitational, but the Pitt Panthers, after being spurned by the NCAA Tournament (unsurprising) and NIT (mildly surprising) are going to give the CBI a shot. The Panthers face Wofford in the first round, which shows you how hard the Panthers fell this season. Here’s the full 2012 CBI bracket.

Milwaukee vs. TCU
Western Illinois vs. Oregon State

Washington State vs. San Francisco
North Dakota State vs. Wyoming

Delaware vs. Butler
Quinnipiac vs. Penn

Princeton vs. Evansville
Wofford vs. Pittsburgh

The Wofford/Pitt matchup will take place on Wednesday, March 14. Wofford finished the season 19-13, with a 12-6 record in the Southern Conference. The Terriers did beat Wake Forest this year, but their only matchup against a truly high-profile team was a game against Wisconsin that they lost 69-33.

So … yeah. The season isn’t going to have a particularly climactic ending for the Panthers. Not that we expected one, really, but this looks like no fun at all.

For more on Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill.

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2012 CBI Tournament Will Not Feature Duquesne Dukes

Duquesne has decided it will not be part of the CBI.

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