Late, but this is what happens when you don’t watch the game until 3 am and then have to try and function the rest of the day as if you still got a normal day of sleep. You just try to get through and try not to think too much.
There’s a lot that could be argued was a positive from the game. The team fought back hard on the road. They were so close to breaking Louisville’s spirit in the final couple minutes. Pitt got a better handle on the press. Adams and Taylor were strong offensively on rebounds and finishing.
But, no one really cares about that. The thing that makes this loss so tough is the volume of “ifs.” From the overarching theme to the individual moments. This game was loaded with the “what if” and “if only” scenarios where Pitt ends up on the winning end.
From the vague, “if only” Pitt had shot even 50% on free throws, to Tray Woodall missing that front-end of the one-and-one with 44 seconds left and Pitt down 3. Or if 54% FT shooter Chane Behanan doesn’t go 2-for-2 on his free throws 20 seconds later.
“If only” Talib Zanna wasn’t so completely unable to get anything to go these days. A 2-9 shooting night that follows 3-9 shooting in each of the prior games. “If only” Trey Zeigler and J.J. Moore could have finished their drives to the basket with — well — actually putting the ball in the basket.
To the questionable officiating that led to fouls limiting James Robinson in the first half — and helping Louisville open up a bigger lead — to taking a surprisingly effective Dante Taylor out of the game in the second half.
The front court, constantly overplaying in front of the basket or simply failing to rotate on defense. Leaving their man for easy slamdunks when the ball was passed to said abandoned man going to the basket.
The backcourt struggling to make a pass and holding the ball too long. Or Lamar Patterson spending too long looking for his own shot, but never taking it.
Then there are the “whys.” Why did that have to be the night Russ Smith has a good night? Or Gorgui Dieng turns into a monster?
Which is why this game sucked in the end. So many ways Pitt could have come away with a win. Not just one play, one bad call, one shot. Just a multitude of ways that they could have come away with a win.