So last week, I got to take a much-needed vacation down in sunny Cozumel. As a result, I didn't do much with the site or even in terms of keeping up much with what Pitt was doing. Some downtime on Saturday and preparing to get back to reality afforded me the chance to watch some of the Clemson game, but that was really it. Not to drum in news that's old by now, but I did want to at least check in with some thoughts on what happened last week.
The basketball team is the main focus now, obviously. Say what you will about the last four games, but Pitt did what it needed to do there. Winning three out of four (especially since three were on the road) really did the Panthers a world of good and I expect they clinched their NCAA Tournament bid with those performances. Pitt didn't beat any great teams there, but winning on the road against conference foes is always difficult. It wasn't pretty and yeah, the Clemson game included a good bit of luck on their part, but at the end of the day, they still got three out of four. Just too hard to complain right now.
Those wins, by the way, give Pitt a real chance to finish with 25 wins, which they will with an ACC Tournament win and an NCAA win ... or any other combination of the two postseason events, obviously. We can debate all we want about Pitt falling short and losing games they probably shouldn't have this year, but for Jamie Dixon to win 25 games with so many losses last year, the Durand Johnson injury, and three relatively unheralded freshmen playing big minutes is a supreme achievement - weak non-conference schedule or not.
Sticking with basketball, Pitt did get bigger with the commitment of Tyrone Haughton. That said, the frontcourt is just looking pretty weak. It's really going to come down to one of those guys - Haughton, Derrick Randall, or Shaq Doorson - overachieving or the trio being manageable. I'm betting on the latter. The good news to me is that Mike Young and Jamel Artis played so much this year that I see good production from them at power forward next season. The question now becomes the decision of nudging a player out if Pitt lands Kobie Eubanks.
Quickly to football, Aaron Donald just seems to be skyrocketing up draft boards. We'll have more on him obviously, but top ten talk isn't even out of the question at this point. Donald is one of those guys who really benefited by staying in school. He tested the waters with Devin Street last year and his stock likely went from being a mid- to late-round guy to a first-rounder.
Lastly, the Olympic sports are still drawing my interest. The baseball team, though, is off to a really rocky start and it was even a little disappointing to see the wrestling program only have one ACC champion in Tyler Wilps after getting five guys to the final in their respective weight classes. Onto the NCAAs for them, though, and I'll be watching for sure. Disappointing finish at ACCs but that program's future is so bright.