PITT: Ashton Gibbs was the highlight, scoring 24 points in last night's 68-66 win over Texas, a game that also saw the Pitt defense force 17 turnovers. On Wednesday night against Maryland, the Panther showed their customary toughness inside, dominating the interior to the tune of a 43-25 rebounding advantage. Controlling the glass and getting to the free-throw line are often synonymous and the Panthers won free-throw scoring 26-14. The downside was Gibbs' backcourt running mate, Brad Wanamaker was quiet both nights.
TEXAS: The Longhorns may have uncovered the first gem of the 2010-11 season with swingman Jordan Hamilton, who scored 53 points over the two games. After a disappointing season, coming out with a win over Illinois and a near-miss against fourth-ranked Pitt, is a positive for Rick Barnes' program.
ILLINOIS: Bruce Weber's team has hopes of contending in the Big Ten, but they were a little soft in New York. Their inside tandem of Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale has to control the glass. Tisdale was a non-factor both nights. Davis had 12 rebounds in Wednesday's loss to Texas, but disappeared against Maryland. The Illini stayed competitive via the trey, burying 10 from behind the arc each game, with Demetri McCamey scoring 20-plus both times.
MARYLAND: I thought the Terps' rebuilding would really be exposed here, but even though they went 0-2, Gary Williams can't be too disappointed with competitive losses against Pitt & Illinois. He got very good scoring balance last night, with five players in double figures and forward Jordan Williams was steady in both games and may emerge as a go-to player. Good experience for Maryland as they build for the ACC schedule.
On Sunday two more tournaments reach their conclusion. Georgetown and N.C. State head up an eight-team field in Charleston, while North Carolina and Minnesota are two of eight more visiting Puerto Rico. On Monday the Notebook will recap how the top programs in each tournament looked over their three games.
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Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary in college football ,game analysis in the NFL. and coverage of college basketball. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.