It might be hard to convince most Notre Dame fans, but last night was a total athletics disaster. Yes, the football team was humiliated on national television in front of a record audience for the BCS National Championship Game. That’s never a good thing… But despite the atrocity that was that football game, it wasn’t an all-around losing night for the Irish. Their hoops team actually looked really good and notched a big road Big East win.
I know basketball doesn’t compare to the gridiron for Irish faithful, but come March it’s possible there will be a ton of excitement around this ball club. They have only one loss and already own wins over Florida State, Kentucky, Purdue, and now Cincinnati.
Speaking of Cincinnati, is there any team that is a better microcosm of the tumultuous Big East than the Bearcats? They opened the year with a huge win on the road at Pitt and looked like a legit Top 15 – Top 20 team. Then they turn around and lose back to back home games to the Irish and St Johns. Instead of a fringe Final Four team, it seems possible at 0-2 in conference, Cincinnati could find someway to play themselves back on the Bubble.
It’s going to be an interesting and hectic year in the Big East, and it gets even more so with tonight’s match-up of equally perplexing, yet tantalizing teams.
So without further delay, let’s get to tonight free pick and winner!
Pitt Panthers at Georgetown Hoyas -2
If any Big East bandwagon has had more people fleeing than Cincinnati, it’d be the Pitt Panthers. They finished non-conference play at 12-1 and looking very much like the underrated contender I and many expert believed them to be. Their only loss was to Michigan, who may just be the best team in the nation (Have you seen Trey Burke and company piling up points in people the last two weeks?!? Wow). In the last week though, the wheels have come off a bit. They lost to Cincinnati at home (whose subsequent struggles we detailed above) and then lost to Rutgers to fall to 0-2 in the Big East.
The main issue for Pitt has been their inability to score. Most figured a healthy Trey Woodall would equal a healthy offense in 2013. It hasn’t unfolded that way. The senior is barely scoring double figures, and unlike Pitt teams of two and three years ago, there’s no one to pick up the slack.
Pitt is a good defensive team, but Georgetown might be the second bet defensive team in the country (behind conference mate Louisville). Look for Georgetown to put the clamps down on the Panthers at home tonight. They have already held a half dozen teams under fifty points. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do it again tonight.
Georgetown in fresh off a tough one point road loss to a good Marquette team. I expect then to come out intense and committed on the defensive end and get a solid win. Take the Hoyas laying the slim few points tonight at home.