So yeah, unfortunately I missed today's game, somewhat unexpectedly. A combination of staying up late and not feeling well caused that. Checking the final score, though, doesn't look like I missed much.
But it's not a bad loss!
Man, I get tired of saying that. Even the most ardent Pitt supporters at this point have to be shaking their heads at the chance for another missed opportunity to pick up a strong win. Pitt losing on the road to North Carolina by four points doesn't mean this is a bad team. But it continues to underscore everything I've said about them - this just isn't a great team. They came miserably close to landing the statement win the they needed at Syracuse earlier this week and had they done that, it's safe to say we'd all be feeling a lot better.
Just another close loss that really underscores the fact that this team is missing elite talent. They have one very good player right now and a lot of decent ones. As we continue to see, that can win you a lot of games but it makes beating the more difficult teams on your schedule a challenge.
I don't want to get into NCAA projections too much here, but what I'll say is this. Pitt really needs to win at least four of these next five. That gives them 24 wins and, in my opinion, there'd be no way they miss the tournament. Winning three probably gets them in as well since it would mean an 11-7 conference record. But going 4-1 down the stretch (and every game is winnable) would really cement their bid and give some nice momentum heading into the ACC tournament. From there, who knows? Pitt has played Syracuse extremely close two times and they may get another chance at knocking them off. And if that happened, it's the type of thing that should mean a bump up of a full seed assuming the Orange stay hot.
But for now, Pitt is on the defensive. The loss gives them four in their past six games and they really need to right the ship with winnable games. Here's the thing about those last six contests, too. Pitt won two against Miami and Virginia Tech, but by the skin of their teeth. When you factor in the Maryland road game preceding those six, we're really at a total of seven games where Pitt has either lost or narrowly won.
The Panthers still have some time to up that win total but judging on how they've fared over the last seven games, they have a lot of work to do.