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.