DePaul Preview/Senior Day

Well, after a long 4 months (and then some), the Panthers are finally at the end of the their regular season schedule, hosting the DePaul Blue Demons on Sunday. This will, of course, be Ronny Ramon, Keith Benjamin, and Maurice Polen’s last home game, as well as a chance for the Zoo to say goodbye to one of the most important Pitt players this year, Mike Cook. Once again, however, the Panthers will be playing a team with something to play for. As of right now, DePaul and Providence are tied for the 12th and final slot to travel to Madison Square Garden to play for the Big East Conference title (the regular season title was already won by Georgetown after a close victory at home over Louisville). DePaul does have the tiebreaking win over Providence, who plays tonight against Villanova (edit: Providence lost to Villanova tonight, so DePaul gets into the tournament with a win tomorrow).

To our seniors: thank you for four great years of basketball, the Oakland Zoo has had some great memories at the hands of Mike, Ronny, Keith, and Maurice. The image of Ronny’s three-pointer to beat WVU will resound in that rivalry for years to come, and provided a spark for a faltering Panther team. That shot might have saved our tournament bid this year, and we owe Ronny infinite thanks for his four years of service. Although Mike only played two years for the Panthers, he endeared himself to the Zoo by playing smart, patient basketball on both ends of the court, showing great tenacity under adversity (especially before his injury in the Duke game), and sacrificing himself for this team was also a key part of this season. Keith, although he played only sparingly his first three years, was a huge part of the Panther’s wins this year over Georgetown and Syracuse, sparking the team when we needed it the most, stepping up more than anybody else in Levance’s absence. I, along with the rest of the Zoo, wish them the best in their continued basketball careers, and whatever other ventures they encounter along the way.

At this point, Pitt has secured the 7th seed in the Big East Conference, though their first-round matchup will be determined after Cincinnati, Syracuse, and Villanova all play their final regular season games. If they all win (or lose), then we will face Cincinnati in the first round, a favorable matchup for the Panthers. DePaul has played some really close road games, losing by five @ UConn, eight @ Notre Dame, five @ Syracuse, and eight @ Marquette, so I wouldn’t expect the Panthers to blow out the Blue Demons. I do however, expect a win- I can’t imagine these seniors would want to end their careers at the Peterson Events Center with a loss to DePaul. I know that the whole team will want to get over the loss at West Virginia, and hopefully can play a really strong 40 minutes, which will serve them well going into the tournament in New York City. A win on Sunday and a win in the first round of the NCAAs will most likely give the Panthers a 7th seed, though a 6th seed might be within reach. As soon as tomorrow’s dust settles, I’ll give a preview for the Big East tournament and a look ahead to the NCAAs.

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5 Responses to “DePaul Preview/Senior Day”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    mike cook may be back next year

  2. Brian Ising Says:

    DePaul and Providence split their 2 meetings. If they end up tied, Providence will get in based on their 2 wins over UConn. So if Providence wins tonight, DePaul is out. DePaul will only make the BET with a win tomorrow and a Providence loss tonight.Also, we could still end up with the 8 seed. If Villanova beats Providence tonight and we lose to DePaul and Cincy beats UConn tomorrow, there will be a 4-way tie at 9-9. In that case, Pitt will finish 2nd in the 4-team mini-conference meaning we’ll end up with the 8 seed. This scenario is very unlikely, but possible.And yes, I have spent way too much time this weekend looking at possible ties in the Big East standings. I almost have the BE tiebreaking formula memorized by now.Anyways, I agree with everything you said about the seniors. This game is important for a lot of reasons – NCAA seeding, confidence, etc. But the most important reason why we need to win this game is for the seniors. After all that these guys have put into the Pitt basketball program, they deserve to go out with a win. I consider Senior Day to be the most important regular-season game every year for that very reason. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much luck getting wins for our seniors on previous Senior Days. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get the win tomorrow for Ronnie, Keith, Mike, and Maurice.I agree with what you said about our NCAA seeding. I think we’re a 7 right now. If we win our next 2, we may move up to a 6. Winning at least 3 will guarantee at least a 6 seed.

  3. Brian Ising Says:

    Well, Villanova beat Providence, which makes tomorrow’s game VERY meaningful to DePaul. A win and they’re off to NYC for the Big East Tournament. A loss means that their season is over.

  4. Tony Says:

    Actually, if Seton Hall beats Buttgers today, and Cincy loses to UConn…SHU will take the #10 seed, because they beat Cincy in the head-to-head. I would much rather take SHU than Cincy!


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