By Jacob Vernick
The Pittsburgh Panthers have been a staple in the NCAA Men's basketball tournament for decades. After not making the tournament for the first time in Jamie Dixon's tenure last year, the Panthers were still expected to do big things this year.
So far, they have not lived up to the hype. Pittsburgh is 15-4 (3-3 in Big East) with losses to Cincinnati, Marquette, Rutgers and Michigan. In all four of those games, they have been outrebounded, destroyed in shooting percentage, and missed way more threes than they took.
But still, those stats do not ring true for every game they have played, only a select few. The one stat the Pitt is constantly horrendous in is free throws.
Free throws should be the easiest points a team can make. It seems to be the opposite for the Panthers. As a team, they are a despicable 67% from the line. This includes 31% from the line from freshman, big man Steven Adams.
Pittsburgh is one of the deepest teams in the nation, with all 10 guys averaging more than 4 points per game. They also lead the country in assist/turnover ratio. They are 12th in the nation in field goal percentage. All these missed free throws really can kill a team and contribute to their losses.
This team has a long way to go before they prove they are a tournament team this year. They still have to go through the Big East and take on Syracuse, Louisville, Notre Dame, and Marquette. None of these games will come easy.
If Pitt keeps on missing free throws, there may be another CBI in their future. If they can step it up, this is a team that can make a serious run in the men's tournament this year.