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Mike DeCourcy Breaks Down What Pitt Must Do To Dance in March

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Pitt Basketball

With every passing day in February, all eyes are frantically checking rankings and expert bracketologists on where certain teams sit in the impending March Madness Tournament.

On Tuesday, Pitt fans will zero in on Mike DeCourcy’s updated NCAA Tournament projections on Fox Sports.

Most recently, Pitt sat as the second team on the next four out line with Utah, Rutgers and Kansas State.

With the Panthers’ convincing win against Louisville on Saturday stretching their win-streak to five consecutive games, plus some losses by surrounding teams, Pitt could climb in DeCourcy’s tournament picture.

“Based on what happened to the quartet above them, [Pitt] will either climb a spot or get into the next group,” DeCourcy told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “St. John’s lost, so they’ll pass them for sure.”

Since Pitt has reversed the script on its season, people are starting to push the idea of the Panthers making the tournament.

Surely, there are plenty of factors that can play into the Panthers’ path to the Big Dance, but for DeCourcy, he’s only focused on one thing.

“Looking ahead and doing math and all of that is a losing proposition. That’s not how it works,” he said. “There are so many variables when you’re in a situation like Pitt is because it’s not just you, it’s everyone around you, it’s everybody that you’ve played in the past. The one you can control is winning your next game.”

That next game happens to be a Quad 1 opponent in Wake Forest on Tuesday. A win over the Demon Deacons on the road could be significant in improving the Panthers’ chances, especially when you add it to already impressive road victories over No. 7 Duke and No. 21 Virginia.

“It is a great opportunity for Pitt to not only get a third great road win, but to also do damage to some competition for a bid. The world that Pitt and Wake Forest reside, they’re very much in competition with one another along with another eight or 10 teams and winning that would be significant.”

For DeCourcy, if Pitt clinched another road victory of that nature, it would bolster an already well-off road portfolio.

“The best item on their resume of certainly any bubble team is they have the two best road wins,” DeCourcy said. “There’s nobody that’s got what they got. Adding a third to that would really be a great statement.”

Well, what would happen if the Panthers don’t win in Winston-Salem?

The room for error of course dwindles, but DeCourcy says that there are no true elimination games at this point. Expect those dagger scenarios to come on the last weekend of the regular season and in the ACC Tournament.

However, Pitt has to find a way to win each of the remaining home games against Virginia Tech (Feb. 24), Florida State (March 5) and N.C. State (March 9).

“At minimum, you can’t afford to lose any home games,” DeCourcy said. “The only way to make up for any home games is to win multiple road games. If you lose any home games, you have to beat Clemson on the road. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have to do that. They can afford to lose to Clemson on the road. Clemson’s a solid top-six seed and probably going to hang there.”

As Pitt’s hunt towards the field of 68 enhances, the Panthers have shown completely different signs as a team from what they were just two months ago.

“They did put themselves in a deficit,” DeCourcy said. “They’re not the team in late November, early December. That is not the team they are putting on the floor now. [Jaland] Lowe has been a tremendous boost for them. Having both [Bub Carrington] and Lowe, that’s a different team. There’s a lot of teams that are ranked and solidly in the field that don’t have that.”

With the Panthers hitting their stride, their stock has risen in the NET Rankings, but it ultimately comes down to what matters the most for DeCourcy, and that’s winning.

“What I tell people to look at is results and record metrics,” DeCourcy said. “That’s what the committee is supposed to really be evaluating candidates on. Whether you get in should not be based on how many points you win by, but who you beat and preferably did you beat them away from home.”

DeCourcy’s projections are released every Tuesday and Friday, along with new seeding lists that will start daily later this week.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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PittBand
PittBand
1 month ago

“They did put themselves in a deficit,” DeCourcy said. 
I take issue with this statement, the All Carolina Conference front end loaded the Panthers with Clemson, UNC and Duke. A new starting five, conference “blue bloods” and yeah we stumbled out of the gate.

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 month ago
Reply to  PittBand

Whiner

Columbus Panther
Columbus Panther
1 month ago
Reply to  PittBand

I understand your sentiment but it’s still a deficit by rule. No matter when you play them, you still have to play them. You could say the same thing about the blue bloods who schedule tough early non-cons. They don’t complain though because they want the early season tests. Pitt needs to look at early ACC the same way.

@Rob are you above or below the age of 12?

Marty15101
Marty15101
1 month ago

Bob is a miserable dickhead. Who cares how old he is?

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 month ago
Reply to  Marty15101

triggered……………91-58

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 month ago

lol

howardlauderback
howardlauderback
1 month ago

Negative Rob is here. Pitt is a real good team right now. But as always shooting is what matters. When Pitt shoots well they win. They are very capable of making some noise, in this years tournament.

Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
1 month ago

Well when any team shoots well they generally win. Wake shot 61% last night, like Pitt defenders weren’t even there. In the Rout. Noise ? No 5, No 4 and two freshmen physically weak Guards. As is the 5’s both physcically weak. On Capel for his weak transfer work this past year. Had he brought in better experienced 5 and a 4 plus another experienced Guard where Bub & Lowe didn’t have to play over 34 minutes a game this team would be already a lock to make the Dance. So on Capel. Next year no scoring machine in Hinson.… Read more »

katuracassells@gmail.com
katuracassells@gmail.com
1 month ago

Bracketology is anything but a science. It’s complete nonsense. There are at least 8 ACC programs that belong in that tournament, including Pitt. Some of the programs the “experts” have in right now are a joke. How many programs in the nation can beat Virginia and Duke on their courts? There is no discussion here

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 month ago

lol

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 month ago

A more pertinent question, loudmouth- how many lose to Missouri AT HOME! LOL

Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

True, Mizzou is winless in the SEC. Said back then that was a horrendous loss, while the Kool-aid crew suggested Mizzou was good. lol

Last edited 1 month ago by Cignetti & Friends

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