First Round Preview: Pittsburgh vs. Wagner

Ontario Lett made it known this week that he had no idea where the campus of Wagner was located. It's located in Staten Island, and that's where Wagner will be returning on Thursday night.<br><br> On paper the game looks closer than anyone is willing to admit, but that's why games aren't played on paper.

Pitt will most likely concentrate on taking out Wagner's superstar Jermaine Hall and force a series of role-players to make up for Hall's abilities.

Wagner will have its hands full deciding upon whom to focus its defense. Do they take the inside game away with the 2 -3 zone or do they dare play man-to-man and leave Ontario Lett and Chevon Troutman free to display their interior passing abilities? And, even when playing man-to-man, Julius Page will still get open looks and who will stay with Donatas Zavackas when goes outside?

I still haven't mentioned point guard Brandin Knight and swingman Jaron Brown.

Unless there is a major lack of concentration and a complete loss of shooting ability, the Panthers should easily move on to the second round.

Pitt's suffocating defense should force Wagner into poor shot selection and too many empty trips to the basket.

Advantages:

Offense: Pittsburgh has 6 players with the ability to make a game winning shot.

Defense: The Seahawks will have a tough time getting any open looks under the barrage of Pitt's tenacity.

Intangibles: The Panthers should have a major chip on their shoulders after being overlooked as a #1.

Coaching: There is a reason why UCLA would drop a bundle for Pitt's Ben Howland.

Outcome: Pitt 82 Wagner 59.

--John Biles


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