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More Respect

Pitt got some much deserved respect when the polls came out this afternoon as they were moved up to #9 in the AP Poll and #11 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. They're in a spot that no one could have really predicted after the Wofford game and Indiana loss. And how on earth does North Carolina or UCONN with six losses stay in the top 25? Please.

More rankings as Gary Parrish over at bumps Pitt up to eighth. Gary also had time to mention Nasir Robinson's career day.

The players, of course, are doing their best to not buy into the hype.

Joe Lunardi also did right by Pitt as he moved the team up to a rising #2 seed. As much as North Carolina and UCONN have underachieved, I'd still hate to face either as a #6 seed in the first round.

And just as it's a surprise to many to see the team ranked so high, it's also been surprising to see Ashton Gibbs develop the way he has - at least so quickly. Obviously with the depature of a huge chunk of the offense there are more opportunities, but I didn't expect this kind of leap in production. I figured as a three-point shooter with more shots, he could get up to maybe around 10 per game. But he's exceeded those expectations - and then some. For Gibbs, its all about confidence.

Anyway, reverting back to Saturday one final time, Jermaine Dixon has a theory on why Pitt didn't see the press as much as it typically does from Louisville:
"I can see why (Pitino) didn't press and decided to stay in the matchup zone. But I was surprised they didn't press us because they had a lot of success with it last year. I think they felt they could press Levance because they wanted to wear him down because we ran a lot of our sets through him."
I don't know how much sense that makes. I would think there are more sets for Gibbs to get open as he's a more potent scorer than Levance was. But for whatever reason, there was certainly less pressing going on than normal.

Meanwhile, Ron Cook of the PG is probably correct in this assertion about Gary McGhee:
McGhee is hardly a star, but Pitt would not be 15-2 and knocking on the door of the top 10 without him. He had the difficult challenge this season of taking over in the post for All-American DeJuan Blair, who, you might have heard, is showing off his game quite nicely in the NBA. He hasn't backed down from it, giving Pitt a big body and a better-than-expected physical presence inside as a defender and rebounder.
Also, Jermaine Dixon is also still working out his game after the injury.

In other news, Pitt missed out on Andy Katz's team of the week and lost to...Virginia? Virginia beats Georgia Tech and Miami at home while Pitt beats UCONN on the road and Louisville at home. He also dissed Pitt a bit by not even declaring Pitt/Georgetown as a 'place to be', instead opting for games the same day such as Temple/Xavier and *gag* Utep/Memphis. Seriously? I think I just threw up in my mouth.

Georgetown up next.