Commentary

Another one bites the dust

Updated: February 25, 2009, 3:08 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

It is not easy to win on the road in conference play. That fact has been proven numerous times this season, and another number one found that out. Pittsburgh took the number one ranking on the road for the second time this season.

Jamie Dixon's squad was numero uno until it lost at Louisville. This time around, the Panthers took the number one ranking to Providence. The Friars were coming off a home loss to Notre Dame, making this test against Pittsburgh even more crucial to their NCAA tournament chances.

You know a team around the .500 mark in Big East play is going to be competitive. Providence entered with a 16-11 record, 8-7 in conference action. Keno Davis' club played with intensity and a desire to make a statement. It built an incredible 44-26 halftime lead and fought off a charge by the Panthers.

Providence 81, Pittsburgh 73. There's goes another No. 1 team, baby!

The Friars had five players scoring in double figures. Pittsburgh turned the ball over 18 times. There is parity in college basketball, and you know what they say about "on any given night!" Providence also made 10 more free throws, and that helped the team get to the winner's circle.

So in less than 10 days, the top four teams in America have all gone down to defeat. Connecticut lost to Pittsburgh. North Carolina lost a 16-point lead in the final 14 minutes against Maryland, falling in overtime. Oklahoma lost a pair of games, and while Blake Griffin's concussion was a contributing factor, it still falls in the L column.

Now Pittsburgh joins that group.

Wow, this is leading to a wild March Madness. There is no invincible team out there. I still feel that North Carolina, when playing its game, has the best chance to cut down the nets at Ford Field. The Tar Heels still need to buy into the defensive concepts of Roy Williams as there have been lapses at times.

The Super Bowl was truly special, and March Madness has the potential to provide many fantastic moments. That is why those three weeks are the best in sports.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.