It wasn’t pretty.
With No. 5 Pitt, it rarely is.
But thanks to a 60-50 win over No. 19 Villanova, Pitt is now officially your Big East regular season champion. With as many as 11 teams punching a ticket to the NCAA Tournament from this league, that 15-3 record looks all the more impressive. Pitt also locked up the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament.
This was typical Pitt basketball. They shot just 41.5% from the floor, but the combination of nine offensive rebounds and just 12 turnovers allowed the Panthers to score 1.11 PPP. At the same time, they held Villanova to just 50 points on 37.3% shooting. Outside of the 27 points that Maalik Wayns had, the Wildcats managed just 23 points on 10-32 shooting from the floor and 1-9 from three. Corey Fisher had seven points on 3-14 shooting. Mouph Yarou and Antonio Pena combined for just 10 shots.
Pitt isn’t playing their best basketball right now. Talib Zanna is their most effective and efficient offensive rebounding threat, and he is out with a broken thumb. So much of what Pitt does on the offensive end of the floor is based on their work cleaning up missed shots, and losing a piece as productive as Zanna will hurt.
But the Panthers are in a much better spot than Villanova.
The Wildcats have now lost four in a row, six of their last eight, and eight of their last twelve. They are dealing with injuries and lineup changes. Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns are not the players we expected them to be coming into the season. This team just isn’t very good. They have talent on their roster, more than any of the three teams that finished at the top of the Big East.
But Jay Wright just cannot figure out of to get all of his pieces to fit together.
Pitt and Villanova were thought to be the two favorites to win the Big East in the preseason.
Pitt won it.
Villanova will now be banished to the first day of the five day Big East Tournament.