Worst Case Scenario, the Sequel

The streak is over and once again like a bad movie sequel, the Pittsburgh Panthers fell into the worst case scenario that they would dread to see in the NCAA tournament. Let's review this scenario shall we? Carl Krauser fouls out, the Panthers don't make free throws, Julius Page is a non-factor on the offense and the game is put into the hands of a benchwarmer. Subsequently the Panthers fell to the Syracuse Orangemen 49 – 46 in overtime, ending Pittsburgh's 40 game home winning streak.

Mark McCarroll took the shot to tie the game, but Yuri Demetrius had more attempts from the field in the overtime game than Julius Page. That's a big problem.

Even a bigger problem, Chevon Troutman missed a possible game winning free throw with 3.2 seconds left on the clock.

And an even bigger problem was the lack of scoring from Julius Page. After being a media darling for much of the previous week, Page has scored just 9 points and hit one 3-point field goal in the past two games. His magical defense on Gerry McNamara aside, Page's suddenly horrid shooting is killing this team.

With the lack of a strong outside shooting presence, the Orangemen packed the paint taking away the inside passing game of the Panthers. Still, Page refused to take the shot when he had it. Jaron Brown forced passes underneath. In a game when the Panthers needed a leader on the floor, neither senior stepped up to take over the game.

But what was the biggest problem, once again, was that the Panthers again were without their point-man, team leader for the end of the game and overtime period. Krauser fouled out when there was no need and thus ended any hope of the Panthers breaking down the Orange defense.

In the past three years, the Panthers have lost overtime games to Kent State, Seton Hall and Connecticut in practically the same fashion, with Brandon Knight fouling out against the Huskies in the Big East Championship game two seasons ago and then fouling out during the Sweet 16 thriller against Kent State.

Don't get me wrong, however, the Panthers should still go far. Their hope for a number one seed is now by the wayside and they may end up with the #3 seed in the Big East tournament with a loss on Tuesday. But, that will not diminish the overachieving job this team has done this season. It's never been in Pitt's best interests to be the top team on the block. They've always performed better when given the underdog role.

As for a number one seed, the Panthers surely took a huge step backward. Pitt will need to win out and win the Big East championship. They will also need Duke, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Kentucky and Gonzaga to fail to win their tournaments and then pray the committee takes the tournaments into account.

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