Kovacevic: Wait, Young didn’t start for Pitt? Why?

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Mike Young is Mr. Everything for Pitt, the team leader in most every meaningful category. And that includes leading off the game by taking the tipoff.

Not on this day.

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In one of the most stunning scenes of the Panthers' season, Jamie Dixon decided not to start Young in what would wind up an 85-64 loss to No. 9 North Carolina on Sunday at the Dean Smith Center. It marked the first time Young didn't start, as well as the first time Chris Jones did start, and it had pretty much everyone's head shaking.

Even Jones'.

"I had no idea. I didn't ask," Jones would say later. "I just wanted to go out there and play good defense, try to make things happen."

Word soon worked its way up to the press box that Young wasn't injured or being punished in any way but that Dixon was seeking a spark by mixing things up. Young entered in the fourth minute and made his usual impact with 15 points, six rebounds and two steals. But his absence coincided with the Panthers falling behind, 17-4.

I asked Dixon to explain his decision regarding Young:

That didn't completely clear things up. I ran into Young a bit later, and his only response when I raised the topic was this: "Everything's fine."


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