With the AP rankings recently released, the two main polls are both out and Pitt ranks No. 10 and No. 11 in the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls respectively. But the Panthers are also getting respect in a couple of other preseason rankings and are rated even higher in one.
Rivals.com is one such outlet, ranking Pitt at No. 9 in their top 32 poll. They're also one of the many to wonder when Pitt will finally break through to a Final Four:
Jamie Dixon has built the Panthers into the Big East's most consistent program; soon, this will be one of the most consistent programs in the ACC. Pitt has reached 10 consecutive NCAA tournaments, the longest such streak in the Big East. Yet Pitt has yet to claim the biggest prize: a Final Four appearance. In Pitt's decade of tournament appearances, five Big East programs have reached the Final Four (or seven, if you count Louisville and Marquette reaching the national semifinals as Conference USA programs).
The Sporting News checks Pitt in at No. 11 and somehow finds a reason to think that Ashton Gibbs is a reason to worry:
Although Gibbs starts at point guard, he is not really a creator. He can’t blow by defenders and get into the lane. That never was a problem as long as Brad Wanamaker, a natural at setting up teammates who easily led the Panthers in assists, was in the lineup. Who assumes that role is the biggest question the team faces. Pitt wasn’t an offensive machine last year, averaging 74 points per game, but Wanamaker’s playmaking helped the Panthers to shoot a respectable 47.5 percent from the field. Past Pitt teams always have excelled at making the extra pass, but that might be less of an option with a less experienced team.