Any chance of that? Please?
Pitt has come to call Madison Square Garden its home away from home. It’s not something St. John’s probably likes to hear, but the Panthers have enjoyed a lot of success on the home court of the Red Storm over the years.
“We like to think that way,” Dixon said. “It’s St. John’s home court. It is different. I don’t know if you call it a home court, but it is different. We have a lot of people come to the games because of the tradition, the history and what we’ve done. We look forward to it.”
Pitt junior J.J. Moore is one of three players on the roster from the New York area. He is from Long Island. Dante Taylor and Tray Woodall also grew up in the metro area.
“It’s New York,” Moore said. “We all love playing there.”
I don’t suppose reality might point out that Pitt hasn’t “owned” the Garden in recent years?
No. 20 Pitt (20-7, 8-6) returns next month for its final appearance in the Big East Tournament.“We’re excited about playing in New York,” said Dixon, who has a 21-13 record at MSG, including victories against Duke, Louisville, Memphis and Georgetown. “We’ll have friends there. We’ll have family there. We’ll have fans.
“Obviously, St. John’s, it’s their home court, but it’s a place we have already played in (this season). It’s not normal that you play in a place you already played in earlier in the year.”
Pitt lost to Michigan and defeated Delaware in November in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
From the 2008-09 season to the present, however, Pitt is 6-7 in the Garden.
I’m not disputing the value of playing at MSG. I think it is great everytime Pitt plays there. It’s just that the whole thing of owning the Garden was built on the runs to the Big East Tournament Championship games in the aughts and the thrilling win over Duke. In the past few years, though, there really isn’t much of a claim on that “ownership.”
Especially when the opponent is St. John’s and I may never forget the home-cooking they got in 2011.
I guess, I’d just rather focus on how Pitt needs to break a losing streak and just has to avoid more losses.
“Every game is important,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “The first 27 were important and the next four are important, too. … We have to focus on the next one. No matter how many you win, no game becomes less important.”
That would mean reversing a recent trend. The Panthers have dropped consecutive games for the first time since losing the first two games of the conference schedule to Cincinnati and Rutgers. They lost at Marquette by 10 and by 9 at home to Notre Dame after having a 16-point lead in the first half.
St. John’s halted a two-game losing streak Wednesday with a 69-54 home victory against last-place South Florida. Whereas Pitt played the most difficult portion of its schedule in recent weeks, St. John’s still has games at Providence and Marquette and a home game against Marquette.
“Pittsburgh presents a great challenge,” Lavin said. “They’re a very physical basketball team. … Our young team understands we’ll have to play our best basketball to win.”
Pitt hasn’t been very physical in its two-game slide. Notre Dame and Marquette beat up the Panthers on the boards, winning the rebounding margin by 15 and 9. The Irish and Golden Eagles also outhustled the Panthers for loose balls. The Panthers also must defend better. St. John’s sophomore D’Angelo Harrison, the third-leading scorer in the Big East, is averaging 18.3 points per game.
Pitt has been inconsistent this season. Which, really, makes them like 90% of the teams in 1-A. That’s something we aren’t used to seeing. Pitt has been very good and very consistent for the last decade. Even last year’s disappointing season, there was a consistency to the losing. This year there are wild fluctuations. Variances. It isn’t what we’ve seen for quite some time.
In a way, it is more disconcerting than the team just not being very good. Because we don’t know what to expect.
We’ll find out what kind of Pitt team and effort shows up today at Noon on Big East Network syndication. Today’s stations are Root, MSG, MASN, Brighthouse and Altitude.