11 years ago today, Pitt and Villanova met in the Elite 8 for one of the decade's best NCAA Tournament games, with Nova defeating the Panthers 78-76 after a coast-to-coast buzzer beater by Scottie Reynolds.
The defeat was the last time the trio of DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, and Levance Fields would take the court for the Panthers. Villanova would go on to lose to eventual National Champion North Carolina in the Final Four.
Six teams from the Big East would finish the 2009 season ranked in the top 13. Six teams in the top 13. Damn I miss Big East Basketball.
The 2009 Elite 8 changed the course of two programs, as Nova went on to become one of the most successful programs in the country, winning a pair of National Championships in 2016 and 2018.
Pitt wasn't so fortunate, as they would again be upset as a #1 seed two years later, this time by Butler in the second round of the 2011 Tournament. Since the Elite 8 loss to Nova in 2009, Pitt has missed out on March Madness six times in 11 years, including all four years since Jamie Dixon left the program.
11 years ago I was a Senior in High School counting down the months until I started my Freshman year at WVU. I had endured two years of weekly "13-9" jokes from my friends. Being at a watch party with a bunch of Panthers while they witnessed their best team in program history lose in heartbreaking fashion was exactly what this Mountaineer needed after two years of Backyard Brawl taunts.
God Bless Scottie Reynolds.
Wesley Uhler is the host of Steelers Blitz, Noon-2 on Steelers Nation Radio, and a Producer for ESPN Pittsburgh. You can find him on Twitter @WesleyUhler.
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