Pitt made their return to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament a memorable one and the game sure didn’t lack for drama.
The two teams threw haymakers at each other all evening long but neither team was able to get the knockout.
But in the end, the Panthers won the contest by decision thanks to a Jamarius Burton mid-range jumper with less than 10 seconds left and two (very makeable) missed shots by Mississippi State as time expired.
Mississippi State’s style of play coupled with the ridiculous number of fouls called by the referees on both teams didn’t make this fun to watch at times, but the bottom line is that Pitt won and have advanced to play Iowa State on Friday.
This becomes Pitt’s first win in the NCAA tournament since 2013-14 and Jeff Capel’s first tournament win as a head coach since 2008-09 with Oklahoma.
The Panthers were able to overcome a number of obstacles in order to pull out the win. First off, they were forced to play without their starting center, Federiko Federiko, which proved to be challenging because of the Bulldogs physical frontcourt. Second, Jamarius Burton, their leading scorer, logged only 19 minutes of playing time because of foul trouble.
Finally, the biggest obstacle for Pitt were a slew of game statistics that weren’t trending in their favor–all of which indicated that Pitt wasn’t going to win.
How about this amazing statistic courtesy of OptaStats, which showed what a tall task Pitt had in front of them.
Pitt is the only Division I team in the last 25 seasons to…
- Score 60 or fewer points.
- Shoot 35% or worse on 2-pointers.
- Shoot 60% or worse on free throws.
- Get outrebounded by 20 or more.
AND STILL WIN THE GAME.
Prior to last night, Div-I teams had been 0-348 over that span with those numbers.
Talk about beating the odds.