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Pitt Vs. Villanova: Panthers Face Wildcats In Regular Season Finale

Well, it's finally here - the end of the regular season is one game away and it's a fairly big game for both teams. Pitt and Villanova already have tickets punched to the NCAA tournament, but this is still an important contest.

The Panthers are playing for the regular season Big East championship and possibly a No. 1 seed. Villanova's stumbled a bit as of late and a win at Pittsburgh would be a huge resume booster for them.

Of course, Saturday's contest also means the last home game for seniors Gilbert Brown, Gary McGhee, and Brad Wanamaker. But almost lost in the shuffle a bit is the fact that with a few more victories, those three can leave Pitt as the most winningest class in the history of the program:

That is perhaps the most impressive aspect of the seniors earning their 109th victory Wednesday night at South Florida. Almost half of the victories have come without DeJuan Blair, a larger-than-life center who was the prized recruit of this class.

Blair, who earned Big East Conference player of the year honors after his sophomore season, left Pitt with two years of eligibility remaining to pursue a career in the NBA. Without Blair, starting at center for the San Antonio Spurs, the remaining members of this class are four victories shy of becoming the winningest senior class for the Panthers.

"We're a bunch of guys who work hard," senior center McGhee said. "Maybe not as many superstars, but guys who work hard, love to play together and go out there and get wins."

When you look back at Pitt's ten-year run of successful teams, that makes the feat all the more impressive. Pitt has churned out 20-win seasons with regularity and to leave the program with the most wins of all-time shows just what kinds of dominant teams these players have been a part of.

So what can we look for in this game? Well, with the way the Big East has gone this year, who really knows. But I do think there will be more offense this time around. Ashton Gibbs and Corey Stokes average more than 30 points per game and both missed the first contest due to injury. Their absence was partially responsible for an ugly 57-54 Pitt win. How ugly? Both teams shot under 40%.


Villanova is a good opponent, and certainly capable of winning this game, but Pitt is 17-1 at the Pete this season. They're practically unbeatable there and I expect another Pitt win on Saturday.

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