Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A few things became pretty clear after Pitt’s 78-63 victory over previously unbeaten UConn Monday night.
First, Kemba Walker, the leading scorer in Division 1, looks like a heavy Big East Player of the Year favorite after scoring 31 points, but he doesn’t get enough offensive support from his teammates.
Not a single other Husky scored in double-digits.
How far can UConn expect to go with this formula?
I think the Big East comes down to Pitt, Syracuse and Villanova.
Led by Ashton Gibbs’ 21 points and Brad Wanamaker’s 14, Pitt had four double-digit scorers and Travon Woodall added nine.
Despite getting picked 10th in the Big East, UConn can beat anybody on a given night — and they did in Maui with wins over then-No. 2 Michigan State and and then-No. 8 Kentucky.
But the Huskies don’t appear to have the offensive depth to be consistent through a rugged, 18-game Big East schedule.
Second, Kemba looks like he could step into an NBA game right now and score at least 8-10 points based on the blend of his quick, darting moves to the basket, his outside shooting and his ability to get to the line.
He shot 10 of 27 from the floor and 8 of 11 from the line.
Kemba will more than likely come out after this, his junior season, and it’s easy to imagine the former Manhattan Rice star contributing in the NBA.
Third, you don’t want to play Pitt at the Petersen Events Center.
The Panthers are now 8-0 all-time against Top 5 teams at the arena and 142-11 overall.
After losing to Tennessee, 83-76, at the Consol Energy Center Dec. 11, Pitt plays most of the Big East heavyweights from now on at the Peterson Center: Marquette (Jan. 8), Syracuse (Jan. 17), Notre Dame (Jan. 24), West Virginia (Feb. 24) and Villanova in the season finale (March 5.)
The Panthers must visit Georgetown, Rutgers, West Virginia and Villanova, but it’s not hard to imagine them going 13-5 or 14-4 in the league.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.