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March Madness Was A Hit In Pittsburgh In 2024

Although it is the usual home of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, PPG Paints Arena gets a chance to showcase the greatest tournament in the world, NCAA Basketball’s March Madness. Pittsburgh showed up and showed out this year, and the fans got to see some pretty cool games. 

Jack Gohlke & DJ Burns Jr Become Stars In Pittsburgh

A guy that not many people knew about coming into the tournament somehow turned into the star of March Madness in 2024 right before our eyes in Pittsburgh. Jack Gohlke caught fire on the opening night of the tournament, dropping 32 points on 10 three-pointers made as the 14-seed Oakland Golden Grizzlies stunned the three-seed Kentucky Wildcats, spoiling John Calipari’s homecoming to Pittsburgh. 

Gohlke won the whole nation over on that Thursday night in Pittsburgh. He was hitting the Jordan shrug after hitting a running triple, he was feeling himself. In the round of 32, the Golden Grizzlies unfortunately fell to another fan favorite in DJ Burns Jr and the NC State Wolfpack in an overtime thriller. 

Gohlke stacked up six three-pointers and ended up with 22 points along with teammate Trey Townsend who posted a 30-point, 13 rebound performance himself. Burns Jr and the Wolfpack proved to be too much, with the forward dropping 24 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists in the win. 

NC State also had an upset of their own on the way to play Oakland, when on Opening Night they shocked sixth-seeded Texas Tech. Burns Jr dropped 16 points on 7/11 shooting in the upset victory. 

The Birds Nest 

Although it usually hosts the Penguins, a couple of other bird teams found success in the arena that some call the Paint Bucket. The Oregon Ducks came in on the first day of the tournament and stunned sixth-seeded South Carolina behind a dominant showing from Jermaine Couisnard, who dropped 40 points with six triples, four rebounds, and six assists. 

The Ducks ended up losing in the round of 32 in a double overtime affair to another bird team, the Creighton Bluejays. Couisnard brought his best, posting 32 points with six threes, eight rebounds, and three assists. His teammate N’Faly Dante had himself a night as well, with 28 points, 20 rebounds, and three assists, but the duo's effort wasn't enough to stymie the balanced Creighton attack. 

Can Pittsburgh Be A Basketball City? 

Despite this year’s field in Pittsburgh not having the firepower that it did in 2018 when Zion Williamson’s Duke Blue Devils and Trae Young’s Oklahoma Sooners made an appearance at the Paint Bucket, fans showed out for the 2024 field. They got their money’s worth too, catching some good basketball games. It might not have had the star power of 2018’s tournament, but we’ll always have Jack Gohlke, that’s for sure. 

Pittsburgh hasn’t had any form of pro basketball in many years, but rumors have swirled recently of the NBA exploring it in some capacity. Who’s to say how that would go, but if this year’s March Madness turnout is any indication, the people of Pittsburgh would love to have some high-level basketball to watch regularly.

Read More College Sports News From Stadium Rant Here: College Sports News


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