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December 18, 2002 Columns No Comments

The Morning Dish – Thursday, December 19th, 2002

by Brian Seymour

Perhaps some of the naysayers will lay off Pittsburgh after the No. 5 Panthers posted a very impressive 69-49 win over Ohio State in Wednesday’s marquee matchup.

Granted, the Buckeyes are rebuilding a bit after some pretty good teams the past four years, but a 20-point win over a mid-level Big Ten team is a solid victory for any program whose name doesn’t rhyme with “puke”.

The only other two losses for OSU (3-3) were to No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 Duke.

Compare that schedule to Pittsburgh (7-0), which has drawn some flak for an early season slate which includes such heavyweights as St. Francis (PA), Norfolk State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and SE Louisiana. To the Panthers credit, they haven’t been challenged by the subpar competition, with their closest game coming in the season opener against Duquesne, a 15-point win.

Pittsburgh’s only real test before Big East play will be a New Year’s Eve contest on the road against Georgia.

Brandin Knight scored 17 and added six assists. Sean Connolly’s 15 points were high for Ohio State, which shot only 32 percent from the field.

Side Dishes

The pits for New Mexico: Does anyone remember when New Mexico was the Gonzaga of college basketball, a team no major school wanted to face, especially at The Pit?

Certainly Lobo fans must long for those glory days, especially in the face of the 98-71 nationally televised drubbing laid on New Mexico (3-4) at the hands of Texas Tech in Lubbock. This only four days removed from a 72-60 home loss to rival New Mexico State.

The Red Raiders (6-1) made a compelling case for re-ascension to the Top 25, racing to a 56-32 first half lead.

Texas Tech’s Andre Emmett was 13-of-16 from the field en route to a game-high 31 points. Ruben Douglas was the Lobos’ leading scorer for the seventh straight game with 23 points.

MSU’s Super Mario:
OK, “MSU’s Super Mario” is a pretty lame headline, but Mario Austin is pretty super ballplayer, as evidenced in his performance in No. 15 Mississippi State’s 78-54 win over Georgia State.

Austin scored 24 points and added 10 rebounds in his second game back for the Bulldogs after missing the season’s first six games while the NCAA investigated eligibility issues.

The game was played before a sellout crowd in Jackson, Miss., 125 miles from MSU’s Starkville campus, the Bulldogs’ first game in Jackson in four years.

Did you know?: What team boasts the nation’s longest regular-season winning streak?

The Golden Flashes of Kent, last season’s NCAA Tournament darlings, scored a 89-84 win on the road against Chattanooga to push their regular-season winning streak to 21 games. The Flashes are 6-0 this season, their best start in more than a half-century.

Tonight’s Menu:

• There could be a crosstown upset as Oral Roberts travels to No. 22 Tulsa. The Golden Eagles are a tough mid-major program this year and not to be taken lightly.

• A bit more pedestrian, but nonetheless interesting matchup finds McNeese State meeting No. 10 Texas. Why is it interesting? Um, I’ll get back to you on that.

• Finally, a pair of Top 25 squads face off against teams with nicknames that I like. The Anteaters of Cal-Irvine trek to No. 20 Stanford and the Catamounts of Vermont will battle No. 23 North Carolina in Chapel Hill. For the record, a catamount is “a legendary mountain cat found in Vermont’s Green Mountains, believed to be extinct since the mid-1800s” according the University of Vermont’s website. An anteater is an anteater.

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