Wagner knocking off No.13 Pittsburgh, 59-54, on Friday was a shock to most of the college basketball world. You’ll have to pardon Hoops Scoops if we sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back.
We knew this current version of Wagner had a chance to be good. In fact, we have posted about Danny Hurley’s crew on more than one occasion over the last couple of seasons. Friday’s win was further proof that Hurley will be the hot new mid major coach.
"We've got good players, we practice really hard and I think our guys feel like they deserve wins like this and moments like this," Hurley told reporters after the game.
Latif Rivers (18 points), Jonathan Williams and Tyler Murray are all legit Division I players. Rivers is especially the real deal. This team can shoot the three (37 percent) and has some size in Naofall Folahan (6-11) and Orlando Parker (6-8).
It was a huge win for Wagner (8-3, 1-1 NEC), but it was probably a bigger loss for Pittsburgh (11-2). Aside from the hit the Panthers will take in the RPI, it was the first time a Pitt team has lost to an NEC school. Does anyone think the ACC won't notice this?
Pittsburgh was 70-0 against NEC teams previously.
Getting back to Wagner, we knew they could be good. Just check out our previous post on the squad. We also posted about Wagner last year, but our site doesn't go back that far, so you'll have to trust us.
The next question about this win is obvious. What does it do for Wagner as far as the NCAA Tournament is concerned? To be perfectly honest, it won't do much if the Seahawks doesn't knock off the Air Force Academy in their next game on December 29 and run through the remainder of their NEC schedule.
Wagner already has a loss to a pretty decent LIU team. Its other two losses were to UConn, 78-66, and Lehigh, 70-69. The Connecticut loss isn't a bad loss, but dropping a game to Lehigh (8-3) could hurt. Lehigh's strong start to the season notwithstanding, teams looking for an at-large bid can't suffer losses to low level mid majors teams.
No disrespect to the Patriot League, but that was a game the Seahawks needed to win. But the season isn't over yet. This win against Pitt could be enough to catapult the squad into a great conference season.