The Panthers are thinking Villanova. As they should. This is, after all, a program that opened 2012 with a loss to Youngstown State.
According to the script, a few minutes before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, James Conner will emerge from the riverside tunnel at Heinz Field to a loud, proud roar.
The press conference was going to be tough, and all concerned had to have realized that. Or so one might think.
Believe it or not, I'm not here to bury Kevin Stallings. I don't know Stallings. I don't care about Stallings.
Jamie Dixon was here for 13 mostly wonderful winters, which saw all of this piled onto the mantle alongside the Panthers' climb.
Pay these kids. At least pay the ones who bring the most money.
The Pitt basketball program had benefited from a decade and change of superlative play at point guard. All had a powerful impact.
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...
Jamie Dixon snapped off each syllable. But apparently in the event that I didn't get the gist the first time, he snapped that much harder with the sequel.
A band of blue-and-gold clad twentysomethings bounded down the steps from Heinz Field's T station, which meant next to nothing on this Saturday afternoon.
"We're not going to hang our heads," Cam Wright was saying at the long table in the Petersen Events Center's press room. Immediately to his right was Mike Young, hanging...
OK, so Pitt probably won't beat No. 2 Virginia over in Charlottesville in a couple days. The Panthers probably won't make the NCAA Tournament, either.
For one winter's afternoon at the snow-capped Petersen Events Center, Pitt basketball was Pitt basketball again. And it was wonderful to watch.
Cam Wright's voice fairly cracked as he spoke. "They kicked our tails. They wanted it more than we did."
The divide between our city's two Division I basketball programs is not 14 points. Nor is it the 14 consecutive victories for one over the other.
The Pitt football program isn't nearly good enough, but it seems that's just an inconvenient annoyance for far too great a percentage of its aging, fading fan base.
"It's hard," James Conner was fairly whispering, followed by the most uncomfortable of pauses. "We wanted to win. We wanted this."