On Saturday I turned on the noon game on ESPN which was Miami-Duke. My 6-1/2-year old son came into the room to see what I was watching. He’s at that stage where he is trying to watch some sports with me. He looked at the TV and with an exasperated sigh turned to me and said, “Really, Dad? Duke is on TV, again?”
I was so proud of him.
In some manufactured debate, there is the issue of whether this game is being treated as too big for what it really is. A game between two top-twenty teams, but not a top-5 team like Syracuse in a couple weeks. Or past games from the old Big East.
I considered that, but have really do see this as an important game.
It’s a Big Monday game. I would call that slot one if not the biggest spot of the the week. Even bigger at times than the College GameDay Saturday night game. On the weekend there are so many games, it is easy for them to blur. Big weekday college basketball games have less competition.
More people — and especially the media — tune in to watch. A win has huge implications for Pitt. Just consider how perceptions were initially cemented because of the Cinci loss on MSG. A weekday ESPN game.
Syracuse in a couple weeks likely will have a lot of meaning, but a win there is easily slotted into the whole narrative of how Pitt has dominated Syracuse. That they know the Cuse from all the Big East battles.
This is Duke and the ACC. They are the flag bearer of the conference in basketball. (Usually co-flag bearers with UNC, but they are not in that role this year). Pitt has rolled through the ACC to this point, but now it gets real. This is the game to make a statement.