BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: DEPAUL @ PITTSBURGH
February 21, 2009
Pittsburgh beat DePaul 92-69 earlier this month on the road and on Saturday night, the Panthers look to complete the two-game sweep against the Blue Demons. The pro-Pittsburgh crowd will look to welcome home the Panthers following Monday night’s win at UConn.
In the first meeting against DePaul, DeJuan Blair scored a career-high 32 points. So, his 22-point, 23-rebound performance against Hasheem Thabeet and the Huskies came as no surprise to DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. Expect the Blue Demons to be ready for Blair in this one.
“We have to use two blockers on DeJuan Blair to keep him off our quarterback,” Wainwright quipped earlier this week.
All kidding aside, the veteran DePaul coach knows what his team is up against, and being on the road, it is unlikely to be any easier.
“They’ve built a depth and a confidence off the bench that is really unbelievable,” Wainwright remarked. He continued, “I do believe they have as good a chance to get as far as anybody in the country. I really do believe that.”
With Blair getting all the attention this week, Sam Young’s 25-points and Levance Fields’ clutch shots seem to be almost forgotten. Not quite, according to Big East coaches.
“I do think that DeJuan Blair is playing at an exceptional level right now,” Rutgers coach Fred Hill said this week when asked about how good he felt Pitt is. “I think that Levance Fields might be one of the most underrated players in the country [and] certainly a guy like Sam Young can really, really score. They’ve got a very good team.”
So, how will DePaul compete with this deep attack of the Panthers. Well, hoping for a letdown by the Panthers might be their best hope. However, nobody seems willing to give DePaul a chance, at 0-13, nobody wants to be the team remembered as the victim of their first, and possibly only, conference win.
“Everybody comes at us like they would at a first-division team,” Wainwright observed.
Expect Pitt to do the same. They are deep and experienced, DePaul is not. The Panthers still have NCAA seeding and a Big East championship to play for. With a home crowd energizing their Panthers, Pitt will roll, as expected.
NBE Blogger Prediction:
Pitt Favored by Historically Large Margin (Tribune-Review)
Pitt Facing Easy Schedule (Tribune-Review)
Pitt Taking Nothing for Granted as Postseason Prospects Loom (Post-Gazette)
Labels: 2008-2009 Game Previews