I Still Get Excited to Attend Pitt Basketball Games at the Pete

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I am attending the Pitt basketball game at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday against Virginia Tech with my wife.  Shoutout to her for the tickets!  Also, if you’re reading this and will be at the game as well Saturday, DM our Twitter account @GoldLotSports and I’ll buy you a beer, or a soda if you’re under the drinking age.  I love to meet fans of ours!

Anyways, I’m going to the game and I’m very excited about it.  You may be asking: Why?  Didn’t you watch the game last night at Wake Forest?  Haven’t you watched all year?  I have watched them this season, and yes it has been tough.  Even brutal at times.

However, I will always get excited to attend a game at the Pete.  To me, it is the best arena in all of college basketball, and at one point, was the most difficult place to play in the entire country.  Whether waxing nostalgic or just enjoying the product that is college basketball, sitting at the Pete is a great experience every time.  There is simply nothing like the starting lineup announcements while the Oakland Zoo is rocking followed by the newspaper toss after the first Panther field goal.

Regardless of the state of the team, there is always a buzz in the Pete on game day.  If the Panthers are on a scoring run, and their big man throws down a dunk on an odd-man break, the seats still shake.  I can still hear in my head the 3-point calls of Ronald Ramon, Levance Fields, and Ashton Gibbs.  If you attended games at the Pete, you can even hear these calls in the tone of the on-court announcer.  “Threeeee, Ronald Ramon” and “Panther Fans!  Get on your feet, and make some noise!”

I've seen some incredible moments at the Pete.  I was there when Dejuan Blair ripped down a rebound, and Hasheem Thabeet's whole body followed.  I was there in March of 2009, when Pitt beat Connecticut to finish undefeated at home on the season.  The Pete has hosted some of my greatest sports memories, and I value that about the Pitt basketball program.  I crave moments like that again.

We, Gold Lot Sports, have been seen as overly negative when it comes to Pitt basketball this season.  Some were upset when instead of fawning over the Syracuse win, we instead recalled back to when those rivalry games mattered much more for the program and the nation.  However, we do not apologize for that. 

When we started this whole thing we said we were fans just like you.  And we are.  Also, we want nothing more than to be totally authentic.  The Panthers are authentically bad this season.  However, I am also authentically excited to attend the game this Saturday. 

As a fan, I am very hopeful.  I see the progress from individual players like John Hugley and Mo Gueye.  However, I also see the regress of guys like William Jeffress and Femi Odukale.

I am also level-headed.  I will not call for Capel’s job after each loss, but I can also recognize that maybe those conversations need to happen this offseason.  I will momentarily lose all excitement for the program over losses like last night’s, while also being legitimately excited to attend games like the one on Saturday.

I also see that when teams like Auburn can be ranked No. 1 overall, it proves college basketball is a different animal than college football.  In college football, you don’t see many new teams in that top spot.  However, in basketball there is much more parity and teams like Pitt could be on the top of the mountain again in no time.  We are in a bit of a desperation mode right now, where it seems like nothing can work.  However, success could be right around the corner.

So give us a break.  We have been negative about a mostly negative season, but at heart we are still fans.  When the team starts putting some wins together, we will be the first ones supporting the Panthers on the front lines.  Right now, they’re just not very good.  But as a fan, I am still very excited for Saturday.