Pitt-Seton Hall Preview: What's That Old Adage Again?

Paul SieversAnalyst IJanuary 23, 2010

KANSAS CITY,MO - NOVEMBER 24:  Ashton Gibbs #12 of the Pittsburgh Panthers makes a jumpshot against the Texas Longhorns during the CBE Classic championship game on November 24, 2009 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

“A mismatch for you is a mismatch for me.”

Not sure who said it, and I’m not sure if that guy ever contemplated one opponent being bigger, faster, stronger, smarter, and more talented than the other, but for the purposes of talking about the Panther’s game with Seton Hall, it’s an apt quote.

I’m not sure if there is a team in the Big East Pitt has less in common with than the Seton Hall Pirates.

On one side you have a big public school from Western Pennsylvania led by a player from North Jersey (Aston Gibbs). On the other side you have a small Catholic school from North Jersey staring a big man from Western PA (Herb Pope).

On one side you have a program led by a classy coach who keeps his nose clean and makes few enemies. On the other end you have a team coached by Bobby Gonzalez.

On one end you have a team that prides itself on defense and rebounding, runs methodical half court sets, and relies on precise ball movement to create open shots. The other team thrives on chaos, rarely has a defensive possession that doesn’t end with a basket or a turnover, and has only scored fewer than 80 points five times (the Hall is 1-4 in those games).

Don’t take my word for it. Just look at how different their Pomeroy scouting reports are.

Usually I give reasons why Pitt fans should be optimistic or pessimistic about an upcoming game. On Sunday the reasons are obvious.

If Pitt gets into a track meet they probably lose, if they make Seton Hall work for their shots they probably win.

The team who executes better wins. Is that statement cliché? Disgustingly cliché.

Is it simple? Beautifully simple.

Is it accurate? It’s always accurate, but in this game it’s really the only way to break it down. When two teams are either strikingly similar or jarringly different, it comes down to who executes.

Pitt should win the rebounding battle, Seton Hall should win the turnover battle. Whoever wins the tempo battle will probably win the scoreboard battle.

Here’s why I think Pitt will win…

Because they’re Pitt.

If there’s a game with mismatches galore and execution is everything, then I’ll take the team that’s been to eight straight NCAA tournaments.

I’ll take the team coached by Jamie Dixon.

I’ll take the team that was able to slam the door on Cinci and UConn on the road every time the home team tried to mount a comeback.

I’ll take the team that didn’t flinch when they were down five with 34 seconds left against Louisville as opposed to the team that almost blew a late five point lead against those same Cardinals.

I know my preview has been chock full of vomit worthy clichés but here’s one more for the road…I’ll take the team that knows how to win. Pitt 79, Seton Hall 76

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