Pitt held of a feisty East Tennessee St. team to earn a hard-fought 72-62 victory.
Too be blunt: Pitt was lucky as hell.
The Panthers looked dazed, sluggish, and nervous as the Bucs hustled all over the court.
Pitt allowed an astounding 21 offensive rebounds and committed 18 turnovers.
ETSU, which came into the game shooting over 70 percent from the free throw line, shot just 12-24 from the stripe. That, along with DeJaun Blair’s 27 points and 15 rebounds, proved to be the difference.
I have never seen Levance Fields play worse than he did today. He has been banged up recently, but it looks like his recovery simply involved eating cheeseburgers. He finished with just six points and four assists.
Fields made a number of uncharacteristically dumb plays late in the game, including standing still with his dribble for 35 seconds before launching a long 3-pointer as the shot clock expired.
The Panthers need to get things together and maybe run some sprints. Second round opponent Oklahoma State loves to play up-tempo and looked impressive against Tennessee today.
I still like Pitt to advance to the Elite Eight and probably beyond, but today’s performance certainly shook my confidence in the Panthers.