If the 2023 NCAA Tournament plays out like the opening pair of First Four games, we’re in for a lot of fun — and also a lot of heartbreak. Mississippi State and its fans found themselves feeling the latter on Tuesday against Pittsburgh.
The Bulldogs trailed by only one point with 2.7 seconds left and were inbounding the ball on their offensive end. If Mississippi State could get a semi-decent look, it’d have a real chance to steal the game at the end. But the Bulldogs didn’t get one semi-decent look. They got one uncontested look and another clean look from short range. Still, it was not quite enough.
Inbounding the ball underneath the hoop, Dashawn Davis looked to his left and found a wide-open Shakeel Moore. Moore’s shot was just off, but the heartbreak didn’t stop there. Bulldogs forward D.J. Jeffries was well-positioned for the rebound and got a clean look at a tip. Ultimately, though, that was also just off-target.
Mississippi State had two clean looks at a game-winner. But Pittsburgh survives its First Four matchup. Iowa State awaits. pic.twitter.com/6KVG89zaSy
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) March 15, 2023
Naturally, the two teams had dramatically different reactions. Pitt tweeted the familiar March message, “Survive and Advance” while Mississippi State basketball sent out a message also familiar with March Madness, a broken heart emoji.
SURVIVE AND ADVANCE‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/IqGAq7bX8U
— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) March 15, 2023
— Mississippi State Men's Basketball (@HailStateMBK) March 15, 2023
The rest of the college basketball world had a similar reaction to the tense finish.
Mississippi State got the exact looks they wanted and just couldn’t get it done.
Pitt moves on. March is beauty. March is pain.
— Mark Titus Show (@MarkTitusShow) March 15, 2023
brutal ending for Mississippi State
Bulldogs haven’t won in the NCAA Tournament since 2008
— Justin Hokanson (@_JHokanson) March 15, 2023
Yikes Mississippi State. That one stings.
— Barrett Sallee 🇺🇸 (@BarrettSallee) March 15, 2023
Mississippi State had the lowest three point shooting percentage for an at large team in forever.
They missed a wide open three to advance to the main bracket.
BRING ON THURSDAY!!!!
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) March 15, 2023
Pitt lost John Hugley for the season and Federiko Federiko for the First Four and still beat Mississippi State to advance in the NCAA Tournament.
Nope. Just College Basketball.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 15, 2023
Pittsburgh will now head to a familiar location, Greensboro, where the ACC Tournament was played. Iowa State, the No. 6 seed from the Midwest Region, will await the Panthers.
[Photo Credit: TruTV]