Jamie Dixon and Pitt had a bad season, but the NCAAs weren't all that far away (Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE)
Before someone leaves an idiotic comment about how I'm defending Pitt's awful season, I figure I should offer the following disclaimer:
Pitt's season was terrible. There's no excuse for how badly the team played at times and they weren't very good.
Now that that's out of the way...
The frustrating thing is that Pitt isn't all that far off from being a tournament team. That probably won't happen and barring a late miracle, the Panthers are probably NIT-bound. But a few more breaks and Pitt could have yet another NCAA tournament berth under their belt.
Don't believe me? Take a look at their season.Heading into this weekend's game against UConn, Pitt is 16-14. Factoring in Tray Woodall's absence much of the season, I think 20-21 wins would have gotten the Panthers into the tournament.
Now, take a look at some of those losses:
- Late collapse at DePaul as the team held a four-point lead with 11 seconds left.
- Five-point loss to Wagner
- Three-point loss to Cincinnati
- Five-point loss to Marquette
- Three-point loss to Louisville
Pitt was 2-5 in games decided by five points this season. Even if they had managed to win two of those games above, their NCAA hopes would look much better. 18 wins wouldn't be enough, but with a couple of more, that may have done it. The season was plagued by close losses and bad shooting.
The flipside is that Pitt had plenty of bad losses, so even 20 wins might not have gotten it done. But with 20, they'd have at least drawn significant consideration for the tournament and would be in a much better position than they are now.
The point is that while we're all bemoaning not getting into the tournament, as bad as things were, Pitt actually wasn't that far off. If even a few more shots fell, the season would still be subpar, but Pitt still might have been headed to the Big Dance.