2006_03sdevendorf.jpgSyracuse could have taken it easy after knocking off Connecticut, confident a win over the nation's top-ranked team secured them an NCAA tournament berth. Pittsburgh could have rested after taking care of archrival West Virginia in their quarterfinal game. Even with nothing meaningful to play for except a bump in seeding, both underdogs lived to fight another day in the Big East semifinals Friday. Syracuse rallied to top Georgetown 58-57, and Pittsburgh crushed second-ranked Villanova. The two teams play for the Big East championship on Saturday to cap what has been a upside-down tournament.

Gothamist isn't that surprised, though. With a conference as deep as the Big East, Connecticut and Villanova knew they would have tough roads to the final. Pittsburgh, for whatever reason, always plays well in New York. Syracuse, last year's champion, has ridden a wave of momentum similar to the one enjoyed by West Virginia during last year's run to the final. Both teams Saturday will have played four games in four days, and Gothamist likes Pittsburgh. Syracuse has had three heart-stopping victories in a row, and they have to be drained. Of course, that could have been said about them before they came from behind against Georgetown.

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