BOSTON -- An old acquaintance greeted Pittsburgh athletic director
"Was that ugly or what?"
"It was beautiful," Pederson replied with a well-practiced serenity.
Such is the curious aesthetic with which followers of Pitt basketball have come to terms. All of the Big East teams still alive in these NCAAs share a rugged style, but no team is homely the way Pitt is. We're talking coyote, mirror-cracking, Wicked-Witch-of-the-West, "U-G-L-Y, you-ain't-got-no-alibi" ugliness.
For starters, take the figures cut by the Panthers' two most conspicuous players, center
As for Fields, a converted second-baseman from Brooklyn who looks like a hybrid of neighbors
Winning ugly is so much a part of Pitt's m.o. that, even as Xavier built an eight-point halftime lead, Villanova's assistant coaches kept telling their boss, Jay Wright, that "Pitt's gonna win this."
"It's just who they are," Wright says with a shrug.
Through a parade of coaches dating back three decades, Pitt's basketball teams have embodied the substance-over-style spirit of the Steel City, a place where, as
Villanova isn't just from the opposite, brotherly lovely end of Pennsylvania; it's from the tony Main Line. But, says Wildcats swingman
But the reigning pageant queens will have to be dethroned. "People say we win ugly," says Blair. "But we win. And it's all about winning."
For the team that's easier on the eyes tomorrow, there'll be no award for congeniality.