Typically, the 8 vs. 9 game in the second round is between two teams who have been either inconsistent or have excelled against a so-so schedule. For the eighth-seeded Pittsburgh Panthers, it was a little of both, but lately, they’ve stepped their game up in a huge way.
Following their 77-48 thrashing of the 9-seed Colorado Buffaloes, Pitt will most likely meet up with the top overall seed Florida Gators in the third round. Florida is likely to be the favorite but the Panthers are plenty capable of putting up a fight.
This afternoon they were led offensively by big-man Talib Zanna‘s 18 points, 5 rebounds, and two blocked shots. He scored eight of Pitt’s first 13 points en route to a 16-point first half. You might remember the name because of his mammoth game in the ACC Tournament in an 80-75 win over North Carolina when he scored 19 points and grabbed a career-high 21 rebounds.
Colorado came in struggling to score points, averaging just 58.6 points over their last seven games and Jamie Dixon‘s squad used smothering defense to limit the Buffs to just 35.7 percent from the field, well below their 43.5 percent average. They also limited Colorado to just 25 percent (4-20) from behind the arc and forced 17 turnovers.
To celebrate the victory, Pitt fans took to Twitter as most fans tend to do nowadays; what better place to boast. “Hail to Pitt” is the Pittsburgh fight song, so naturally scouring Twitter for #HailToPitt and #H2P generated some entertaining reaction to the blowout win.
I know y'all saw them Pitt boys workin today! #h2p
— Ashton Gibbs (@AshtonGibbs12) March 20, 2014
Gibbs, from Lebanon!
Colorado's point total today was nowhere near as high as the rest of their state. #H2P
— Timothy James (@RichHomieTim) March 20, 2014
Well played, sir.
— sam (@AweSAMtweets_) March 20, 2014
Already counting on a game with the Great Danes.
— Keith Fruncillo (@KFruncillo) March 20, 2014
Pitt was a 6.5-point favorite.
— Bill Boyle (@BBoyle310) March 20, 2014
Careful what you wish for.
— Meghan Greenawalt (@mgreenie03) March 20, 2014
Never bet against Pitt when burritos are on the line.
Best part of that game was how much fun the players looked like they were having… and Nwankwo's 2. #H2P
— Benjamin J. Garber (@bjgarber) March 20, 2014
The junior now has 10 points on the season but probably only two he’ll remember.
— Roc (@Roc_1787) March 20, 2014
How’s he tweet with those big paws?
It’ll be interesting to see how the reactions if they can somehow take down the mighty Gators.