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2011 March Madness: Pitt Vs. UNC-Asheville

Pitt's quest for a Final Four starts on Thursday against UNC-Asheville.

As I wrote over on Cardiac Hill this week, Pitt should be wary of the Bulldogs. Even though they're a No. 16 seed, all the team has to do is pop in a DVD of the 2008-09 Pitt team that was taken to the limits by East Tennessee State University. In that game, Pitt held only a two-point lead with about four minutes left and was in severe danger of being the first No. 1 ever to fall to a No. 16.

UNC-Asheville isn't a great team by any stretch of the imagination, but they're a capable one. They defeated BCS-conference school Auburn on the road in their season opener and also played reasonably well in losses to North Carolina and Georgetown on the road. They've also won their past seven games and shoot better than 45 percent from the field.

Not exactly a gimme opponent.

Pitt also isn't playing it's best basketball of late. The team has had some pretty tough competition, but they are still a very mediocre 3-3 over their past six games. Losing to St. John's, Louisville, and UConn is nothing to be ashamed of, but 3-3 is 3-3.

To avoid any chance of an upset, Pitt needs to get out to a fast start and not slow down after building a lead. The team clearly can't afford to look ahead to a Saturday matchup against Butler or Old Dominion.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.