This team really needs Levance back. I know we have a very solid rotation in the 8 players we’re using now, but they really miss his ability to drive inside and kick out, as well as his passing into the post and really just the way he runs this team. Ronald Roman has been a great backup point guard, and Keith performed very well until late (possibly having something to do with the injured shooting hand) but Fields’ presence makes us an Elite 8 team, not just a tournament-worthy one. It’s being said that Marquette is looking less likely, though he is back on the court practicing, so maybe we can hope to have him back against the Louisville Cardinals on February 24th.
Now let’s try and focus on some positives: firstly, the Hoopies are coming to town. The last time Pitt and West Virginia met in a rather important game, the Panthers came away with a slightly memorable win on Milan Puskar field- and don’t think that game won’t be in the Mountaineers heads when they take the court at the Pete. That was a huge shocker and embarsassment for that school, and I think revenge will definitely be in their minds. Luckily for us, the Hoopies are just as streaky as the Panthers- they set some new marks in futility by going 1-22 in three-point attempts in an embarrassing home loss to the Bearcats 62-39, and good thing for the Panthers that we weren’t the bounce-back game.
The good thing for Pitt is that WVU’s roster consists of mostly large jump-shooters, guys who have the size to take it down low but are comfortable shooting from the outside, and are a little soft around the boards. Sam Young, DeJuan Blair, and Tyrell Biggs HAVE to take advantage of this softness, and- like I’ve said in posts before- we need to win this game. Of course it seems like every time I say that, someone gets in foul trouble, but hopefully we can avoid that tomorrow night. Hopefully the Panthers can regain the shooting touch and confidence we had against Georgetown, Seton Hall, and St. John’s, and keep pace with the top teams in the Big East. This is a team that deserves to be ranked, and I really think they can play like it on Thursday night.