The next 72 hours will be nerve-wracking to say the least for Pitt basketball fans and members of the program as they wait to learn whether they’ve qualified for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
As it normally does this time of the year, bracketology changes daily and the latest concerning Pitt isn’t totally encouraging.
As of this morning, CBS Sports lists Pitt as an 11 seed taking on Missouri, USA Today has them as a 10 seed vs. Michigan State, while ESPN has the Panthers playing in the play-in-game vs. Rutgers.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi lists Pitt with four other teams that it’s “Too Close to Call” and says Pitt, Utah State, Arizona State, Oklahoma State and Clemson are five teams fighting for three spots. Lunardi also lists Oregon and Vanderbilt as two teams that are lurking.
Pittsburgh Sports Now has reached out to a number of national college basketball writers to get their thoughts on where Pitt currently stands.
Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News: “I fully expect Pitt to be in the field when the bracket is unveiled Sunday evening. It would have been nice if they were more competitive against Duke, but I think the Blue Devils have become a terrific team. I’ve always said I believed there was considerable space between the Panthers and the bubble. There might be a smidge less after the disappointment against Notre Dame, but teams that were in lesser shape than Pitt, such as Nevada, Michigan, Carolina and Oklahoma State have either damaged their cases or missed opportunities.”
Pat Forde, Sports Illustrated: “I’ve thought for a month that Pitt was an NCAA team. Even with the recent stumbles — and an outright ghastly blowout against Duke — I’d find room for the Panthers in the field. The biggest late-developing issue is the devaluing of sweeping North Carolina. That looked big at the time, but now it’s beating an NIT team twice. I suspect it will be a nervous Selection Sunday at Pitt, but I think it ends well.”
Rocco Miller, Hoops Bracketologist/Bracketeer.org: “Pittsburgh certainly didn’t leave a great final impression in the loss to Duke, but overall, it doesn’t damage the resume much. So much of being selected is about your resume. Pitt’s seed may have been impacted since the result happened on a Thursday afternoon and was likely watched by the committee, but I believe the Panthers are making the Tournament. It comes down to whether Pitt will go straight into the bracket or be sent to Dayton? That is a tough call this evening. I’m confident that Pitt hears its name called because of the road wins against Tournament level teams Northwestern and NC State (presuming the Pack get selected). Those wins and Virginia, and Miami at home show that they can play at this level, and I believe it outweighs the bad losses. Pitt would have to also be higher than NC State on the pecking order, and I don’t see both getting left out, especially with UNC AD Bubba Cunningham in the committee room advocating.”
Bill Bender, The Sporting News: “It’s really hard to gauge how the committee will truly treat the ACC bubble teams. Pitt does have four Quad 1 victories, which is a separator from NC State. The Duke loss was ugly, and losing three of their last four games probably knocks the Panthers down to the No. 11 line with a possibility they end up in the First Four. I still think they get in either way.”
PSN will update this story once we receive more responses.