The Play-in Game?

I want to discuss Drew’s comment on the previous post.  Joe Lunardi has us seeded as the overall number 1 seed.  Obviously this is all a bunch of far-reaching speculation until we know about the draft and where recruits sign.  However, this seeding still makes me nervous.  It’s nice to be respected, but do we deserve it?  I’m not even sure I can handle this type of respect.  We as Pitt fans are so used to having to fight for any type of recognition that this feels like foreign territory.

Have we as a team taken that step where we’re always expected to do well, and especially do well enough to be the best team in the country?  Do we want that as fans?
I have no idea what to think of this and, like I said, right now we can all laugh at this because it’s way too early to be talking about this stuff.
I want to hear from all of you who feel inclined to comment.
How does Lunardi’s prediction make you feel?
Hail to Pitt.
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Posted in ESPN, rank. 7 Comments »

Never Too Early to Get Excited

Apparently, it’s also not too early for ESPN to look ahead to next year’s college basketball season. However, I must say that looking at these rankings did provide me with a little bit of a shocker:

3. Pitt
Why? The Panthers return their entire core from a team that was in the Sweet 16 and only continued to get better as it got healthier. Levance Fields comes back at the point and DeJuan Blair and Sam Young are the anchors in the post. And there is still a chance that Mike Cook could get a sixth-year to come back from his severe knee injury.

Why not? There’s not much to pick apart here. The Panthers should be the pick to win the Big East with a team that won the conference tournament title despite being so injury-riddled.

That’s right. Third. In the country. Now, I’m not saying he’s wrong. I sure hope Mr. Katz was fully sober when he wrote this. If we get the same starting lineup I hope we will have (Fields, Young, Blair, Brown, and either Wanamaker/Dixon/Robinson), we have an incredibly deep, talented, and experienced team. We’re certainly not one to be taken lightly, but it was still a bit of a shocker to see us placed third in the country. This is surely apt to change, but not a bad article to read anyways.

Mr. Katz also firmly believes that the Big East will be the best conference in the country. He has Notre Dame at #5, West Virginia at #6 (under the assumption that Joe Alexander will be back, which is a fairly good one), UConn at #7, Syracuse and Georgetown at numbers 18 and 19, followed by Louisville at 21. That’s right, 1/3 of the top 21 teams in the country are from the Big East. I think that’s a little ridiculous (if we’re all beating each other up, nobody will be able to stay too highly ranked) but in terms of actual basketball talent, it’s not too far-fetched. Anyways, please don’t comment and yell at me about how these preseason rankings are meaningless (like the AP rankings are meaningful anyways), I’m just starting to look ahead to next year.

Posted in ESPN, rank. 3 Comments »

Understanding Pitt’s Position

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

Down Goes Florida! Down Goes Florida!

After being promoted to #3 in the AP Poll this past Monday:
#2 UNC loses to Gonzaga
#1 Florida loses to Kansas

It is a great time to be a Panther fan!

Dick Vitale (during the Florida game on ESPN2) rated Pitt as his #6 top frontcourt in the country.