Both the Pittsburgh Panthers and the West Virginia Mountaineers were knocked out of the Big East Tournament on Wednesday, failing to make it out of the second round. The Mountaineers had a much tougher loss in the tournament, allowing Connecticut to rally back from being down at the half to win in overtime.
SB Nation's West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket reacts to the tough loss, mentioning how frustrating it is losing with a young team. The Mountaineers are a really young team, so it's a team that makes quite a bit of mental mistakes and panics when they shouldn't. Plus, according to head coach Bob Huggins, they have no idea what they're doing.
I honestly think a lot of the problem is youth. I know that can be a bit of a cop-out, especially when other teams are playing freshmen and when these guys have had 30+ games of really good college basketball under their belts. But the way the season has gone losing so many games at the end, you see players pucker up at the end of games and you wonder whether the close losses have gotten into their heads some. How else can you explain Gary Browne essentially presenting the ball on a silver platter to Shabazz Napier for a breakaway layup not once, but twice? And the inability of anyone to get---let alone make---a decent look at the basket in the closing minutes? You would think someone could figure out a way to manufacture some kind of points when we need them to close out a game. But instead, we just panic and throw up something totally awkward-looking with nobody in position to even get a rebound. It's baffling, it's frustrating, and it's disheartening, but that's the kind of team we have to live with.
Pitt on the the other hand didn't lose in quite the same frustrating fashion. The Panthers on the other hand trailed by nearly double-digits at halftime and then looked like they just gave up in the second half finally going down 64-52 to Georgetown. The folks over at Cardiac Hill can't seem to figure out why Pitt takes so many three-point shots, especially when they don't go in. In the game against the Hoyas, Pitt shot the ball 21 times from the three-point line, sinking just five of them.
This team's fascination with shooting three-pointers baffles me. Pitt has not been a team to shoot a bunch of long-range shots in years past, yet frequently, Pitt is attempting more than 20 s a game this season. It would be fine if they made some of them, but that's not been the case for even Ashton Gibbs - the guy who shot nearly 50% from that distance last season. Today was no different as Pitt went 5-21 from behind the arc.
West Virginia is still hopeful they'll get a bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday evening, but Pitt, on the other hand, can only hope for an NIT bid.
For more on the two teams, head over to West Virginia blog Smoking Musket and Pittsburgh Panthers blog Cardiac Hill. For all your Big East news during championship week, check out Big East Coast Bias. Click here for more on the 2012 Big East Tournament.