I wrote an article a while back (here) trying to justify Pitt’s tough non-conference schedule to those who claimed those losses were not worth the risk. Now that the season has progressed a good bit, here is an update on Pitt’s position.
With one remaining non-conference game (Washington) the Panthers have a non-conference RPI ranking of 7 and a Strength of Schedule (SOS) of 18. I said that then, and I’ll say it again now: come March, those two numbers mean a lot.
We are entering the heart of conference play now, who cares about that non-conference schedule. That is what some of you might be thinking. With so many people slamming the Big East this season because so many teams have about .500 records, Pitt stands above them all, with a spotless conference record. Of course, they still have 11 conference games to play, but do you think that wins over UConn and Georgetown go unnoticed?
Maybe neither of them are ranked right now. That is precisely my point. The Big East is at risk every season of its teams blasting each other away, taking away that media spotlight from any one team. That is what makes it tough.
Pitt is not struggling past these teams with a 3-2 record. They are 5-0. We play Marquette on Sunday, and they were once ranked in the top 10. Maybe these aren’t marquee games like Wisconsin vs Ohio State, but these are good Big East teams.
So where is this all going? Here is Pitt’s position, and they should be damn proud of it:
AP Poll rank: 6
ESPN Poll rank: 6
RPI rank: 3
RPI SOS rank: 4
Big East rank: 1