Is Pitt an ACC title contender?

The computers and polls don't agree on the Panthers. Which are right?

Updated: January 27, 2014, 11:16 AM ET
By John Gasaway | ESPN Insider

Lamar PattersonScott Cunningham/Getty ImagesLamar Patterson has had an impressive season so far for Pitt.

In any college basketball season there will be a team that triggers disagreement between pollsters and computer rating systems. The team in question will very likely lack a signature win, but will mop the floor with opponents that don't particularly impress anyone. Fans who follow the rating systems will insist that the team is clearly being underrated. Nevertheless, pollsters will vote to the contrary and wait for this oh-so-underappreciated team to actually beat someone of note. It happens every season like clockwork.

The paradigmatic example of such a team this season is the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Panthers are languishing rather inconspicuously in the bottom half of the top 25 in the polls, but are far more highly esteemed by systems that track performance on a per-possession basis. Who's right? Let's take a look, heading into Pitt's Monday night home game against Duke (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).