Heartbreak at the Garden: Pitt Loses Third-Straight in Big East Tourney

Bill KostkasContributor IIMarch 10, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies drives toward the hoop against Brad Wanamaker #22 of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters  at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Gee, I hope Gary McGhee's ankles are alright because the game-winning shot by Connecticut's Kemba Walker was as filthy as Pitt's play at Madison Square Garden this afternoon. Was it me or did it feel like Taliek Brown all over again?

I've never been one to jump up and down and throw things during a Pitt basketball game like I do for Steelers games, but today I was like that. I've never had such a worse taste in my mouth after a college basketball game than the one I have right now.

The last set was the day in a nutshell for the Panthers. The Huskies got the switch they wanted. McGhee somehow ended up being the only guy covering Walker while everyone else stood around and watched. The problem with this was that everyone in the building knew Walker was taking that shot.

Why didn't Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker or Gilbert Brown collapse or start a double-team? They had to know that Walker still wouldn't have passed the ball. He took so many game-winners for that team this year. What irks me is that maybe the three didn't realize that.

The climax of the game was just the end of the on-going theme. All day long players stood around. They looked asleep. They got outrebounded 13-to-8 offensively and 27-to-24 defensively.

When they actually had chances to snag a few down the stretch, it looked as if some of them gave up on the play. I can't even begin to count how many times I saw Brown back out of plays with his arms up in the air.

What had me throwing pillows across the room was the fact that the Huskies' big man, Alex Oriakhi, was still able to play three-quarters of the second half with three fouls. Did Jamie Dixon have any idea that he had that many, or did the players just ignore his order to drive at him on offense and get his ass on the bench?

The stat where I say Pitt lost their third-straight Big East Tournament game was in turnovers. Pitt turned the ball over 11 times and only made half of it up with getting six from the Huskies, who turned those 11 turnovers into 20 points. How many did Pitt have off of theirs? Zip.

It was also the usual suspects when it comes to my Houdini theory. Despite Gibbs' career-high 27-point performance, it was the same two players that have been killing this team in March since 2007: Brown and Wanamaker. Between the two, they had five turnovers.

Brown couldn't even get into double-figures. He would have been better off taking a stroll up the street to Times Square.