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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

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