First off, big thanks to Jim for grabbing the postgame recap yesterday. With a crazy sleep schedule the past few nights, I was on a bit of a delay in watching the game against Stanford. And the fact that I'm cobbling this post together at about 1:30 a.m. says all you need to know about my sanity level.
So, a lot of us had the Legends Classic circled on the calendar. It was the first time Pitt was expected to be tested after an easy slate up to that point and obviously, that didn't happen. Based on that, what do we take away from the two games?
Here's what we know - Pitt is a good team. Stanford and Texas Tech may be a big down this year, but average teams don't run through the six games that Pitt has had like the Panthers have done. Pitt's smallest margin of victory thus far has been against Lehigh when they won by 19. Keep in mind that Pitt also had a 24-point lead at the half in that game took their foot off the gas a bit in the second half. There's not been one game where Pitt has even remotely been tested.
Another measure of Pitt's dominance was seen in the Stanford game. The Cardinal actually shot the ball considerably better than the Panthers (50% to 45%) and the rebounding was virtually a wash (31 to 29 in Pitt's favor), but Stanford still lost by 21. You won't see that happen too often, folks. The reason the Panthers were able to win so lopsidedly, though, was they made 30 of a whopping 34 free throws, hit eight three-pointers, and won the turnover battle decisively (five to 14).
I said all that to say this - this Pitt team could be special because they do so many things well. Pitt is shooting the ball really well, taking and making three-pointers, and not turning the ball over. They're also forcing a lot of turnovers, by the way. In the past two games against Texas Tech and Stanford, the Panthers had only 13 turnovers to 31 by the opposition. I'm not sure Pitt can keep that up in conference play with so many young players. But so far, the Panthers are playing aggressively on both ends and not even allowing teams to even come close to beating them.
Pitt will soon play a Penn State team that could be pretty decent, but other than that, you might have to wait until a date with Cincinnati on December 17th before we see the Panthers really break much of a sweat.
Stay tuned and in the meantime, enjoy it.