Connect with us


Vukovcan: Pitt is a CLEAR Tournament Team Despite What the Metrics Say



Jeff Capel watches as Pitt faces Duke in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals in Greensboro, N.C. on March 9, 2023. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)

Whether it’s one that you agree with or not, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

That’s especially true when it comes to sports, which is one of the things that make it great.

Since getting TKO’d yesterday by Duke, many people, both locally and nationally, have expressed an opinion on Pitt, debating whether they own a legitimate tournament resume.

Prior to Thursday’s 2:30 PM tipoff against Duke, the national consensus seemed to be that the Panthers locked up a bid the day before against Georgia Tech, which was win No. 22.

That opinion was quickly changed following Pitt getting destroyed by the Blue Devils and the flavor of the day now has Pitt as a bubble team and possibly on the outside looking in.

While I believe in freedom of speech and the importance of being allowed to have an opinion, if you think Pitt is a bubble team and could miss the tournament, you’re crazy.

Jeff Capel’s team, without a doubt, has a tournament resume and if they’re not one of the 68 teams selected on Sunday night, it’s a total joke and the system is broken.

While this is just one man’s opinion and no way am I always right, if Pitt does miss the tournament, it won’t be because of their resume, it’ll be because of something that’s changed the selection process and changed it for the worse: the impact computers and metrics have on who is tournament worthy.

Raise your hand if you want to throw up when you hear the words- KenPom, NET, Quad One/Two wins, etc.

One person that obviously doesn’t share the same opinion as me, is Alan Saunders, who wrote a column and has no issue with this system and looks to be campaigning for a job with Ken Pom and his team (LOL).

I love Alan and this isn’t the first thing that we’ve disagreed about, but he’s totally wrong when trying to make a case that the metrics were right about Pitt.

The good thing about Alan is that when I explain why I hate the system and don’t agree with 99% of his column, he won’t block me on Twitter like Ken Pom did.

When these new computer/metrics based systems have so much influence on tournament seeding and whether a team qualifies for a tournament, more common sense needs to be used, more looking at a team with your eyes needs to be done instead of just simply plugging numbers into a computer.

If that was done, Pitt wouldn’t be ranked No. 77 by Ken Pom and No. 67 by NET, which is currently the case.

While the pro-metrics people will say ‘we’re not saying they’re the 77th or 67th best team in the country,’ they actually are because that’s where they have them listed on their respective service. And because that’s where they’re currently slotted, most national bracketologists use this number when deciding where to seed Pitt.

I’m not going to try and make the case that Pitt is currently one of the Top 25 or 30 best teams in the country but don’t try and insult my intelligence by saying that metrics are accurate with their current place of Pitt.

Having them at either #67 or #77 is a total joke and you lose total credibility by trying to argue those rankings are ok or accurate.

Here are the most egregious mistakes and why I can’t give an ounce of credibility to what they’re trying to spew out.

Pitt No. 77
Iona No. 76
BYU No. 73
Charleston No. 72
Yale No. 69
Seton Hall No. 68
Central Florida No. 67
Drake No. 66
Sam Houston State No. 64
Texas Tech No. 61
Colorado No. 59
Oral Roberts No. 56
UAB No. 55
NC State No. 54
Ohio State No. 53
Oklahoma No. 51
Liberty No. 48
North Carolina No. 47
Michigan No. 45
Nevada No. 43
North Texas No. 41
Boise State No. 28
Florida Atlantic No. 27
Utah State No. 21

I’m not going to go into each individual team that I listed, but give me a break if you’re going to try and tell me with a straight face that Florida Atlantic is 50 spots better than Pitt, or that Liberty is 29 spots better, or that a team that Pitt BEAT TWICE is 30 spots better or teams with overall losing records are better than Pitt or that you’re going to rank a team higher than Pitt that plays in a minor conference and plays very little competition all season.

When I say use common sense, that’s what I’m referring to. What do you think UAB’s record would be if they played in the ACC? I can confidently predict it wouldn’t be above .500. Same with Iona, Charleston, Yale, Central Florida, Drake, Sam Houston State, Colorado, Oral Roberts, Liberty, Nevada, North Texas, Boise State, Florida Atlantic or Utah State.

Since they’d finish under .500, they wouldn’t be ranked in any metrics system above Pitt, which makes the current rankings laughable.

None of those teams that play little to no competition should be listed ahead of Pitt and if they are, your system is a bad one.

Regardless of what’s being written and said, Pitt certainly has a tournament worthy resume. Something that gets completely overlooked and a factor that computers don’t consider is that at the beginning of the season, this Pitt team was trying to develop chemistry with all the new faces on the roster and in their starting lineup. That doesn’t happen overnight, thus some struggles at the beginning of the season. I’d suggest that if Pitt played VCU, Michigan and Vanderbilt at midseason or at the end of the season, results would’ve been different.

That being said, the competition they played and games they won is NCAA Tournament worthy.

Beating Northwestern (No. 2 seed in Big 10), NC State on the road, Syracuse (twice), Miami (No. 1 seed in ACC), North Carolina (twice) and Virginia should make Pitt tournament worthy and is certainly better than any of the teams I listed above currently own.

It’s hard to believe that people are saying that Pitt didn’t do enough this season to earn a spot but that’s the case and a reason Pitt fans and members of the program will be sweating until Sunday at 6 PM.

I’m going to close with a fact that should allow Panther nation to sleep easy over the next 2 nights.

Since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, EVERY ACC team that won 70% of its conference games during the regular season qualified for the NCAA tournament. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Pitt accomplished that this season, which is another reason this shouldn’t even be a conversation piece.

Despite what the computers are saying and them trying to keep Pitt out, that won’t happen.

First the first time since 2016, the Pitt Panthers will be dancing in March and it’s something that was earned.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 year ago

So by your logic should Florida State be in? They beat Pitt on the road.

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Vukovcan

Cherry picking results for 1 team of 355 and using it as a basis for an opinion is shoddy “journalism”

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

Fortunately there is a truly objective system for selecting the 68 teams. Pitt may or may not meet the criteria but using the :”oh no it’s computers deciding” trope is the epitome of lazy analysis. Hometown bias aside, neither of us is on the committee.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rob Radich
william dambach
william dambach
1 year ago

Great article. Somebody not something (a computer) that watches and knows basketball. thanks for being a voice of reason.

Randy Joseck
Randy Joseck
1 year ago

Fortunately the selection committee is run by humans. I understand all of the analytics and statistics, but Pitt’s 14-6 conference record should get us in. I think we are in the first four and will hope there are no bid stealers

Jim Garland
Jim Garland
1 year ago

I’m a lifelong Pitt fan, and I agree they have earned a spot in the tourney based on their performance over the ACC season. Having said that, your column reads more like one the sports editor for a high school newspaper would write than that of a journalist. While I’m thrilled to learn you stand for freedom of speech, your statement “if you think Pitt is a bubble team and could miss the tournament, you’re crazy” was indicative of how you really feel – everyone is entitled to an opinion, but if it doesn’t agree with mine, you’re nuts. Not… Read more »

Get PSN in your inbox!

Enter your email and get all of our posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Like Pittsburgh Sports Now on Facebook!
Send this to a friend