HARTFORD, Conn. -- It's the Big East. What were you expecting, poetry?
Pitt and UConn have tangoed and tangled in a slugfest that may not match Villanova-Louisville for fouls but is toe-to-toe for toughness.
I've been impressed with both teams, frankly: a very young Pitt team's ability to keep its composure on the road and hold the lead despite 1-of-7 shooting from Jermaine Dixon, and the Huskies' ability to claw out of an 18-8 hole despite any perimeter game. Stanley Robinson, who sometimes seems to fade from the game, has been on tonight with 13 points including a windmill dunk that I have a feeling will make SportsCenter at some point. Robinson got the ball on a break all alone and the entire crowd inhaled, waiting to see what he would do. He didn't disappoint.
But UConn's lack of even the slightest outside threat has been a real killer, allowing Pitt to clog the lane and basically dare the Huskies to shoot. And they can't. They just don't have a guy.
Pitt, on the meantime, started out shooting like a house afire, connecting on 54 percent, but that's steadily dropped as UConn has stepped up the defensive intensity. The Panthers go to the locker room connecting on just 38 percent from the floor. It will be interesting to see how the Panthers handle that. Usually a team that plays defense first and worries about offense later, this Pitt team has shot the ball well heading into this game. Be we'll see if Pitt has the tenacity to play the kind of D that is a hallmark of a Jamie Dixon game in the second half.
Don't expect much to change here when the ball goes up. It's going to be rough and tough, so might as well buckle up.