Even Shorthanded, Panthers Never quit

Never quit

Of all of the ESPN signs I have seen, this one was definitely the best.

In Bob Smizik’s article today in the wonderful Post-Gazette, he discussed why he is surprised that Pitt might not be dead yet. Although I am aware that sportswriters bleed pessimism, the following quote surprised me:
“If you didn’t know better, you would think it was business as usual for the Panthers, who play Georgetown at 7 p.m. today at Petersen Event Center.”

Of course nobody expected the Panthers to pack up their stuff and call the season a wash, but I don’t think even Bob would believe they aren’t going to try to win some big games.

Similarly, at about 12:30 today, while waiting in line, a friend and I were comparing the Zoo this season to the Zoo three years ago. Recalling games of the 2004-2005 season like the home defeat of Syracuse, where Pitt trailed early by 17 points. That was a team that was supposed to be great. That was not a team that had its local sportswriters questioning whether they were dead.

This game tonight, it was something else. The Panthers managed to upset one of the top teams in the country, a team that people had called a contender for the national title. The odds-on favorite to win the conference, today, goes home with a loss.

The crowd tonight was electric, probably the best game in the past two years. Compared to the GameDay event last year against Georgetown, I think this was far better. I think that anyone who has been in the Zoo for a while will tell you that this was what the Zoo can be, and to those of you new folks, this is what you have to look forward to. I sat behind Jay Bilas and heard him tell someone before the game that “this is one of the hardest 10 places to play in the country. The team has been really good, but these students are tough. They are loud and they are creative. It is a tough place to come and win.”

I posed a question a while ago: Is this the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?
And to the fan who answered, “Pitt will not make the NCAA tournament,” what do you have to say now?


8 Responses to “Even Shorthanded, Panthers Never quit”

  1. Drew Margulis Says:

    Amen to that Keith. I thought it’d be close and was worried that their size and great perimeter defense would wear us down, especially being shorthanded, but we dominated from wire to wire. This team has limitless potential, especially when Levance comes back.

  2. Keith McBride Says:

    Conflicting opinions on the Zoo tonight:Ronald Ramon:”I think someone took the keys, because all of the animals were out in the zoo tonight. We have great fans, and they stepped it up big time tonight. They really helped us elevate our game.”John Thompson:”The crowd wasn’t a factor, they just played well. It wasn’t the crowd but the five guys that were on the floor.”I believe Ronald.

  3. J Jones Says:

    That feeling after the Benjamin three that put us on that six point swing is what being in the Zoo is all about. Really don’t want to get to into the emotions here but tonight is why we all love Pitt basketball. I love this team and they won’t quit on us and we aren’t quitting on them. Tremendous experience tonight and the sky is the limit for this team. There is a toughness and a chip on everybody shoulder, which makes the team so dangerous. John Thompson knows damn well the crowd broke his team’s spirit during those big runs. GTown hates playing at the Pete and it showed tonight.Everybody should savor what we had tonight because an atmosphere like that is rare in the world of college basketball.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    where did you get Ramon’s quote?

  5. Keith McBride Says:

    http://pittsburghpanthers.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/recaps/011408aaf.htmlIf you read the recap on the official website, soon after they add notes, which are statistics about the game and streaks and such, and quotes from Dixon, top players, and the opponents.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Watched the game on ESPN last night… the Zoo was absolutely raging. JT III is FOS, no one who watched that game can honestly say the crowd wasn’t a factor. No one wants to play here. Great job guys, and great game Pitt.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    The Zoo was at a high level tonight. I was going to Pitt just when the Zoo was getting started. It was collection of just a few students wearing a yellow shirt at the Fieldhouse. It started to take off our first year at the Pete. The UConn games were the biggest games at the time, but last nights game was as spectacular as I’ve seen it. I still think we should be playing UConn twice each year. Man the student section has come a long way from just seven or eight years ago.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    As a former Pitt student and diehard fan living in CT, I can tell you the sentiment around here is the same – Pitt and ConnU should play twice in the regular season every year. It’s become a fierce basketball rivalry since that fat slob El-Amin’s antics back in the day…

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