Despite it not being all that important, I was pretty glad to see Pitt finally get an ounce of respect in the college basketball rankings. The Panthers are No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll according to an emailed release from the athletic department. It's the first time in about a year they've been ranked.
At 12-1 with their only loss coming to No. 2 Michigan by five points, I was among those that felt the team should be ranked. I understand the concerns of many about the fairly weak non-conference schedule, but the Panthers were pretty consistent in blowing out most of their competition. Pitt has won their 12 games by an average of 27 points and really wasn't challenged all that much.
Just how good Pitt is still remains to be seen. We've only seen them matched up against a ranked team once this year and even though they nearly pulled off a big upset there, it was still only one game. The Panthers have much to prove, but the ranking hurdle has now been cleared.
UPDATE: Pitt also moved into No. 24 in the AP poll.