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Pitt needs rest more than Big East title

March 12, 2009 - Neil Rudel

Pitt opens Big East tournament play tonight against West Virginia.

I'm rooting for the Mountaineers.

Not because I don't like Pitt or don't want to see the Panthers advance deep into the NCAA Tournament.

To the contrary.

Pitt's terrific run over the past half-decade has been a lot of fun to watch. But it matches two common denominators: a strong showing in the Big East tourney -- seven appearances in the championship game in the last eight years and one title -- and failure each time to advance beyond the NCAA's Sweet 16.

Since the Panthers have already secured a No. 1 seed regardless of whether they win the Big East title or go out tonight, it may help them to lose and regain fresh legs in time for a full recovery for when the more meaningful action starts next week.

Advancing to the title game after beating WVU and UConn again gets Pitt home on Sunday -- or just in time to watch the Selection Show, re-pack and scramble to the first-round site. That formula hasn't worked too well lately.

That doesn't mean the Panthers should try to lose either tonight or tomorrow. It just means it might help them if they do.


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