Wednesday, January 30, 2013
What to make of Pitt
By Luke Lapinski
At the moment, Pittsburgh sits just outside the AP Top 25 -- not completely overlooked, but not exactly where they want to be either. The Panthers have the makeup of a potentially dangerous team, but they don't quite have a big win to point to just yet. On the heels of a close loss at No. 12 Louisville on Monday, they'll have another opportunity to get that signature victory this weekend when they host Syracuse.
So just how good is Jamie Dixon's club? At 17-5, their defeats have mostly come at the hands of pretty solid opponents. The Cardinals are a potential title contender, as is Michigan. And Cincinnati and Marquette are both ranked at the moment as well.
The problem is, the Panthers haven't had a defining triumph up to this point. And that's why Saturday's tilt with the Orange is so important. Just by playing in the Big East, they'll face a few more strong opponents over the rest of the regular season, but this is their one crack at Jim Boeheim's group -- likely the only top 10 team they'll play before the postseason. KenPom.com has Pitt ranked No. 6 nationally in adjusted offense and No. 23 overall in adjusted defense. That's usually a strong indicator that a team is built to win, and John Gasaway believes in this group as well. Now it's just a matter of translating those elements into a significant win.