Yesterday’s loss to Rutgers lowered Pitt’s all-time record at the Pete to 91-9. I have attended 8 of those 9 losses, and I think it is unquestionable that yesterday was the worst loss of them all.
The deficit of 13 points matched the loss last year to Louisville as the biggest defeat in the building. However, Louisville was a respectable team. Rutgers is the worst team in the conference, by far. I said in the pregame note that if the game was even close, Pitt had something to worry about. Well we do.
Jamie Dixon said in his radio interview that the loss could not be attributed to lack of preparation, because although the game was close in the first half, Pitt pretty much led or dominated in every statistical category, save their ridiculous 3-point percentage. When a team with a season average of 30% from deep manages to hit 75%, there isn’t much to do.
Obviously without two starters, people claimed they would be happy if Pitt was able to go .500 the rest of the year. Pitt proved to us that wasn’t good enough. But these losses to Cincinnati and Rutgers are just unacceptable. The inconsistency is really going to haunt them the rest of the year. Sure, good teams lose bad games sometimes. They go on to keep winning and then the losses don’t really matter too much. This conference isn’t going to allow that though. Every team is battling for every win it can get, and dropping an easy win at home to the worst team in the conference, right before a game against a ranked opponent who beat us earlier in the season, that is just plain disappointing.
As much as I like Jamie Dixon, I have always felt that he was too easy on his criticism in games where the players didn’t play well. Yesterday, however, he said that they did just about everything wrong in the second half. He said it was the worst half of basketball his teams have ever had. I’m glad to see some honesty and accountability.
The Panthers have to shake it off and get back to work. The only thing that is possibly sadder than Pitt and its fans after yesterday is Villanova, who has now lost two in a row, one of which was Rutgers’ first conference win.