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conference title or rest?

March 12, 2009

As I am getting ready to watch the Pittsburgh, West Virginia game at 7pm, I am wondering what Jamie Dixon and the Panthers mindset is.  Throughout the regular season, they have portrayed to the collegiate nation, that they are one of the best teams in the country.  Beating Uconn 70-60 last week, which happened to be the second time that #1 Uconn lost to Pittsburgh this year, cemented the Panthers status.  However, over the past few seasons, Pittsburgh has been known for their regular season dominance and their tournament downfalls.  Underachieving is never what a coach wants to hear about their team, year in and year out.  Last year, Pittsburgh won the Big East tournament and had high hopes of dancing their way to the final four.  Four games in four nights during the Big East tournament last year, proved to be too much of a burden.  Michigan State ended up knocking out the Panthers in the second round.   Saying this, is Pittsburgh really going to put forth a concerted effort to win the Big East championship?  Momentum is a major factor in sports, and winning the big east tournament would definitely make the Panthers favorites to win the national championship this year.  In the same token, would they rather win the Big East tournament, and then lose in the sweet 16 due to being fatigued?  Athletes at this level have a competitive nature that is hard to overcome.  Dixon is not going to tell his players to take it easy during a game.  If a blowout is in store, obviously he will substitute the regulars to keep fresh legs.  

                    Looking at the New York Giants super bowl run last year is a prime example of why momentum outweighs rest.  The Giants coach, Tom Coughlin made the decision to play his starters the entire game, in a “meaningless” week 17 game against the undefeated Patriots.  Going into the game, the Giants had nothing to play for since they had clinched a playoff birth the week prior.  However, the Patriots were 16-0 and the question arose, regarding whether or not Coughlin would try to win the game. The Giants tried to win the game, and although falling short, the confidence that they gained by nearly beating the undefeated Pats, was priceless.  The rest is history, as the Giants rode the momentum to a Super Bowl victory.   Hopefully Jamie Dixon, and other coaches in his position use this as a model on how to approach the postseason.  Momentum and team chemistry should lead the Pittsburgh Panthers to a national championship this year.

 

By Mikeyrolls

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