With 6:41 remaining, Pitt had Villanova right they wanted them—down by four. Admittedly, I hadn't seen a lot of Pitt's regular season games, so for their first three dances on route to the elite eight, I was wondering what the problem was.
I've been schooled—I get it now. But in my defense, I am a natural pessimist.
Say what you want about all of Pitt's shortcomings in the past. I'm guilty of it too. Recently I wrote a blog on Friday the 13th commemorating 13 things I am grateful for—one being that Pitt would probably be a top seed meaning they'd be able to get out of the second round before getting bounced for once.
With 2:01 remaining, Pitt is down one. Perfect.
I've always pulled for Pitt, dating back to when Sean Miller (Xavier's coach) was their point guard in '88. I pick them every year they are in the field of 65, regardless of seed.
The only difference is that this year I'm not alone.
Pitt down by two with 46.5 seconds left, Villanova at the line. No worries.
I've learned that this team does not panic, they just win. My bracket is 46.5 seconds away from busting (again), but I am not worried.
Down by four, with 39 seconds left, Pitt hits a three-pointer. I never doubted it. Villanova has played admirably, but this is what Pitt does.
Levance Fields said it best after advancing to the Sweet 16, and I paraphrase—we don't run anyone out of the building, we just win.
None of my favorite teams "just win." Doesn't he know this? I'm a Philadelphia Eagles die hard. I am accustomed to my teams finding ways to blow it when it matters most.
I follow Penn State football like nobody's religion. Twice in the past four years we found a way to lose our lone game as time expired ruining our chances of playing for a title.
I follow the Pittsburgh Penguins too. Last year they didn't even show up in Lord Stanley's championship.
Down by two with 10.6 seconds left—Villanova inbounding after the timeout. I must confess, I am beginning to question my confidence in writing this. Why??
Pitt down two now, at the line, with 5.5 seconds left. I shouldn't have ever doubted them. Have I jinxed them now with my doubting ways?
Levance Fields at the line, his team trailing by one with one more free throw to tie—what every teenager who ever held a basketball has dreamed of. Swish!
No sooner than I took a deep breath did Villanova's Scottie Reynolds recapture the lead with a half second remaining.
Down by three with nothing more than a heave and prayer, I concede.
My bracket busted.
My rooting interests vanquished.
My weekend soured.
No sooner than I thought I finally understood this team, I learn that I know nothing.
The good news is that I am well versed in dealing with disappointment. Four NFC Conference Championship losses and a Super Bowl loss in eight years anyone?
At least Bills fan feels me. Maybe Vikings fan too, but most of their heartbreak dates back to the '70s.
I guess my Friday the 13th blog was completely accurate after all.
Let it be known that pessimists hate being right.
Congratulations 'Nova—now do what the Arizona Cardinals couldn't and make it worth it.