Could Pitt reach a No. 4 seed for NCAA Tournament?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The closer we get to the end of the season, the more angst there will be about Pitt's seed. If I'm being honest, I've been thinking it about it a little more than usual. And I think that comes from the team missing the tournament last year. It's just a lot more exciting to be talking about where Pitt could land instead of if they'll make it.

ICYMI, the Panthers moved up a notch in Joe Lunardi's latest ESPN Bracketology rankings. They were a No. 7 seed last week and moved up to a No. 6, presumably on the heels of their fairly comfortable win at St. John's in their last game.

With three very winnable games coming up, though, the Panthers shouldn't settle for that.

The team has a good chance to move up the rankings ... and in turn, improve their seeding. Let's assume for a second that the Panthers are indeed a No. 6 seed right now. Pitt is currently ranked 23rd in the AP and essentially 26th in the Coaches Poll. They have three games over the next two weeks and two more sets of rankings will come out over that span. If they can win all three (which they should, by the way), they could get closer to the top 16. That might put the Panthers in line for a No. 4 seed.

The likely deciding factor will be the Big East Tournament, though. I really think the Panthers will need to win two games there to seal a No. 4 seed. Some would argue that one might do it but the more I think about it, Pitt may need to win two. The problem is that the Panthers have seven losses already and go ahead and assume they need to get into the top 15 for a No. 4 seed. Currently, there's no team in the AP top 15 with that many losses. And there are several more teams between No. 15 and No. 23 (where the Panthers sit) that have fewer.

Assuming Pitt loses in the Big East Tournament, they would end the season with eight losses. The Panthers need to hope for a rash of losses by teams ahead of them if they want to sneak into a No. 4 seed. Unless they win two games in the Big East Tourney, my money's on a No. 5.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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