Posted: 2:00 p.m. Friday, March 8, 2013
Heading into this year, Pitt was hoping to rebound from a disastrous season where they were sent to the CBI Tournament. With two freshmen expected to play prominent roles, an NCAA Tournament berth was the goal for many reasonable fans. Pitt is now on the cusp of not only getting into the Big Dance, but ending up with a fairly high seed.
At 23-7, the season has been full of ups and downs. The high points? Starting 12-1, roughing up Georgetown, and beating Syracuse. The lows? Jobbing to Rutgers, blowing a big lead to Notre Dame, and needing overtime to beat Oakland. But guess what? Assuming Pitt can beat perennial basement-dwelling DePaul this weekend, the Panthers will end up 24-7. And who wouldn't have taken that at the beginning of the season?
Simply put, with DePaul, the Big East Tournament, and the NCAAs, Pitt will have an excellent shot at winning more than 25 games this season. And there just aren't many teams that will do that this season.
I'm of the belief that expectations change as the season goes along. So if Pitt goes out in the first round of the NCAAs, it will be a bit disappointing. But keep in mind this team isn't one expected to do a ton of damage in the postseason even now. Just getting into the tournament this season and winning at least 25 games makes this a successful year in my book.
If everything breaks right, I could see Pitt reaching a Sweet 16. And if I'm being honest, that's where I'd like to see the team finish. But, to a degree (and people will hate to hear this), Pitt is playing with house money here. The program had a successful year and without a true star, it'd be difficult to be too upset with an early postseason exit.