When Pitt players met with the media on Wednesday, there were two things on their mind—being aware of being under the cross hairs as a No. 1 seed, and Matt Dickey. Dickey is the UNC Asheville guard who hit a three-pointer to tie the play-in game at the end of regulation, and scored a total of 18 points in helping UNC Asheville to a 81-77 win over Arkansas Little Rock.
"Dickey is a great player," guard Gilbert Brown said. "He's athletic, and a very confident guard. He's been playing at a high level for them all year. Last night, he put on a little show there at the end, and hit a big shot. We're up to the task at hand of playing a player of his caliber."
The Panthers expect Dickey to bring his A-game in addition to the motivation of trying to end the winning streak of No. 1 seeds over the No. 16 seeds. No 16-seed has ever knocked off a top seed, but that doesn't mean the Panthers feel they are an unmarked team.
"It definitely comes with some pressure, the bullseye on your back," center Gary McGhee said. "I think it made us come with more confidence, and makes us practice that much harder. Just take it one game at a time and accomplish these wins."
Still, the Panthers are aware they'll have a constant bullseye on them through the entire tournament. It's part of the motivation that Jamie Dixon has been using to help get his team ready for this week. He tries to instill a belief in his team that they should never be satisfied.
"I think we're at a point where we'll never be satisfied," Dixon said. "I think that's probably something with the type of kids we recruit, and probably something that's engrained in our program, our athletic department and our university. We want to be the best that we can be; whatever academic area it is, and whatever sport it is. Once you've reached a certain level, satisfied shouldn't come into the equation."
The other part of Dixon's motivation this week was simply having his Pitt team watch Tuesday night's play-in game. Dixon felt the players got something out of watching UNC-Asheville win the game the way they did. As a result of seeing them win, it's easier to not label them as a No. 16 seed.
"I think maybe watching them play (Tuesday), and watching the excitement for them getting the win, I think that resonated pretty good with our guys," Dixon said. "We've always been that way. I think that's always been a part of our success."
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