Pitt's Key Game: North Carolina

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

In looking at Pitt's key game of the year, you can practically pick any of the big ones. If the Panthers had won any of them ... the one-point loss to Cincinnati, the Tyler Ennis-shot Syracuse game, or either of the Virginia games, the team's seed would have likely been better.

You can never boil an entire season down to a single game, but if I had to pick one, I might go with the North Carolina game. Without it, you really don't want to imagine where the Panthers would have been.

Like I've said over and over, I believe the No. 9 seed was a bad one for Pitt. But had they not beaten the Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament, it's frightening to think what might have happened to Pitt. At best, the Panthers may have landed in one of the play-in games. The team was given a No. 9 seed, but the very last one. Even with the UNC victory, they were still essentially a No. 10 seed. Without it, they could have been given a No. 11 and forced into a 'first' round matchup.

I believed Pitt was in after beating Wake Forest and they likely would have been. But the Panthers could have been in the uncomfortable position having to play their way in. You can look at any of the losses as the most significant game in terms of how Pitt got to where they are, but I'll go the opposite way and pick their sole standout win.

What about you? What was the key game of the season for the team in your mind?

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and manager/editor of Cardiac Hill @AnsonWhaley

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