Monday, February 18, 2013
How good are the Panthers?
By Luke Lapinski
This year's Pittsburgh squad is a tough one to get a read on at times. The Panthers are well on their way to an NCAA Tournament bid, coming in at No. 20 in the nation with a very respectable 20-6 record to date. But just how dangerous will they actually be in March?
Ken Pomeroy contends that they'll at least be a team to keep in mind when filling out your brackets. He acknowledges that they don't always pass the eye test, but notes that they are deceptively effective in some ways. Offensively, their 71.0 points per game ranks No. 85 in the nation -- not bad, but nothing all that special. But some of that is a byproduct of Pitt playing at a slower, more deliberate pace. Jamie Dixon's squad actually ranks No. 6 in adjusted offensive efficiency on KenPom.com, accounting for the Panthers' ability to make the most out of their possessions. A combination of good shot selection and impressive offensive rebounding have been the keys to scoring points, and a solid defensive effort has limited the opposition enough to yield 20 wins thus far.
Joe Lunardi currently lists Pittsburgh at No. 20 in his most recent Bracket Math, while Jay Bilas slots the team in at No. 24 in the Bilas Index. The Panthers have faced some tough competition, and they've found ways to win some big games (most notably against Syracuse). Regardless of whether or not it's been pretty, they continue to get the job done.