Pitt basketball notebook: Adams sits out first game of year
• Freshman center Steven Adams missed his first game of the season Sunday with a left ankle injury, but Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was cautiously optimistic about his return Saturday at DePaul. “I anticipate him being ready next week,” Dixon said before catching himself and amending that assessment. “That's a week away. It's an ankle, so we'll see. I'll let him speak for that. It's probably not my job to do that.” Adams injured the ankle in practice Saturday and left on crutches. But he dressed, warmed up with teammates and sat on the bench throughout the 73-64 overtime victory against Villanova. “I know he was hungry and anxious to get out there,” Dixon said.
• Adams leads the team in rebounds with an average of 6.2 per game, but Talib Zanna had a career-high 19 against Villanova — seven off the offensive glass — to lift his average to 6.1.
• Pitt stretched its winning streak to six against Villanova — every game since the Wildcats beat Pitt in an NCAA Elite Eight game in 2009. That was the only time in the past eight years that Villanova defeated Pitt twice in the same season. “To beat Pitt twice, you have to be a Final Four team,” said Villanova coach Jay Wright, whose team is winless in six games at the Petersen Events Center. “With their toughness and physical play, we can judge where we are when we play them, even when Ben (Howland) was here,” he said.
• Pitt's last Big East game at the Pete inspired Dixon to talk about what the conference has meant to his program. “You wonder how it can get any better than this, playing in the best conference in the country,” he said. “We wouldn't be the program we are now unless we were part of the Big East. That was our selling point 14 years ago when we came here. If you want to play against the best, come to Pitt.”