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Pitt Basketball Climbs in NET, Ranks Prominently on Andy Katz’s Power 36



Pitt is beginning to receive the national recognition its been waiting for since upsetting Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The victory inside the hallowed halls of one of the most historic venues in sports has given way to the Panthers, putting themselves in a position to make history once again.

Riding a five-game winning streak, the best of any ACC team, Pitt (17-8, 8-6 ACC) shook off a 3-6 conference mark in the bottom third of the standings to an invitation for a more lucrative end-of-season event.

The Panthers rank 47th in the NCAA NET rankings, sixth in the ACC behind North Carolina (9), Duke (17), Clemson (27), Wake Forest (40), and Virginia (41). Pitt lost to UNC and Clemson earlier this season but split with Duke (each team winning away from home), ended Virginia’s 23-game home winning streak, and took down Wake Forest in the first of two matchups. The Panthers and Demon Deacons meet Tuesday in Winston-Salem with significant NCAA Tournament hopes at stake. 

Pitt improved seven spots from 54 to 47 after trouncing Louisville 86-59 at the Petersen Events Center. Jeff Capel’s team had risen 36 spots from their 83rd overall ranking on Jan. 19.

In ESPN bracketologist insider Joe Lunardi’s latest bracket update Sunday night, the Panthers sat as the final team on the bubble in the NEXT FOUR OUT category. Wake Forest slots in the LAST FOUR OUT but could move into the LAST FOUR IN with a victory on Tuesday.

College basketball reporter Andy Katz has taken notice of Pitt’s month-long rise to bubble contention. In his latest Power 36, Katz moved an unranked Pitt team to 28th overall thanks to the winning streak.

“The Panthers beat Virginia and have won five in a row to sneak back into bid contention,” Katz explained. Virginia fell from 12 to 29 after losing to Pitt but beating the Demon Deacons by two. UNC (11) and Duke (12) are the only teams higher than Pitt.

The following week will go a long way in determining if the Panthers will be dancing for a second consecutive season. Following Tuesday’s matchup at Wake Forest, Pitt hosts Virginia Tech on Saturday before playing at Clemson a week from Tuesday. Pitt is currently fourth in the ACC standings and would have a double bye to the quarterfinals in the conference tournament.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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3 months ago

Pitt’s UVA win does not look as good as it did, last week. Pitt’s NET is going to take a hit after VA Tech crushed the Cavs.

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