Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pitt Loses Robinson, Iowa Loses Gatens

There's pretty big injury news out of Iowa as Matt Gatens has torn a tendon in his hand and is out indefinitely. Nobody is reporting an approximate length on the injury yet, but injuries like this typically take multiple months to recover from. Gatens, the team's top scroer last season, is a disastrous loss for an Iowa team that already was at a huge talent disadvantage compared to the rest of the Big Ten.

This was always going to be a rebuilding year for Iowa under newly hired coach Fran McCaffery (formerly at Siena). They're very young, and McCaffery is going to use this year to develop his youngsters and to put together a quality 2011 recruiting class that can help the program begin to move up the Big Ten standings. Even with a healthy Gatens, most people (including myself) picked Iowa to finish in dead last in the Big Ten.

And because of that, if Gatens is due to miss more than about eight weeks I think they should seriously consider redshirting him so they can have an extra year of him when he'll be able to help them achieve greater goals than they have a shot at this season.


Pittsburgh's Nasir Robinson also has suffered an injury. In his case it's a knee injury that will likely cost him six weeks. In some sense, this isn't as big of a deal as the Gatens injury. Robinson was only the team's sixth leading scorer last season, and he should be back in plenty of time for the start of Big East play.

But while Iowa is just hoping to win ten games all season, Pitt is a serious contender for the Big East title and a 1 seed in the Tournament. And they have some tough tests their early schedule. They open the season against Rhode Island in less than two weeks, and then have to play Maryland and either Illinois or Texas at Coaches vs Cancer. Robinson will be questionable for a December match-up against Tennessee, and a setback could even make him questionable for the Big East opener against UConn on December 27th.

Robinson isn't a star, but he did start last season and was one of the team's best offensive rebounders. Assuming Robinson is back in six weeks, I doubt his absence will cost them more than one win (if any) and it won't impact in any way their chances of winning the Big East. But it's something to keep an eye on.

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