<
>

Rapid reaction: Pittsburgh 89, Oakland 66

MILWAUKEE -- Please check your upset-laden March Madness at the door. David fought Goliath and, as is so often the case in college basketball, Goliath shrugged off the puny little slingshot and got down to the business of a beating. Some quick postgame thoughts from Pittsburgh's cruise-control win over Oakland:

  • The Big East will certainly have to do more in the rest of this year's tournament to redeem itself after Thursday's debacle, in which Georgetown, Notre Dame and Marquette all lost and Villanova barely beat No. 15 seed Robert Morris in overtime. But this is a start. Oakland was able to stay with Pitt for the first few minutes of the game, but it didn't take too long for Jamie Dixon's team to assert its overwhelming superiority. By the 10-minute mark in the second half, Pittsburgh had built a comfortable 18-point lead and, with no chance of a shocking upset, the Bradley Center crowd had largely moved to the door. Most importantly, the win prevents another brutal upset for the Big East, a conference that looked awfully overrated in Thursday's action.

  • Oakland's fans didn't head to the door, though; even as some Pitt fans thinned out their section, the Oakland faithful remained in their seats, getting their full 40 minutes' worth of NCAA tournament enjoyment. A few rogue fans even kept making noise -- weird whoops and hollers and yodels -- when Pittsburgh shot free throws. You have to admire the dedication.

  • Pittsburgh's balance was its strength. Gilbert Brown added 17 points off the bench. Travon Woodall was a solid bench addition with 10. Brad Wanamaker, Gary McGhee and Jermaine Dixon shared the rest of the scoring lead with 13, 12, and 17 points, respectively. Only Pitt leading scorer Ashton Gibbs struggled. Gibbs played a mere nine minutes in the first half and ended with a very un-Gibbs-like 7 total points.

  • All in all, the Panthers shared the ball, ran their stuff, and looked like a complete team from top to bottom. It will be much more difficult to preserve that balance when the opposing team has Jordan Crawford and Terrell Holloway -- Gibbs will need to step up against Xavier Sunday -- but as tournament starts go, it would have been hard for Pittsburgh to look much better.

More from the postgame as coaches and players address the media.