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2014 NCAA Tournament Projections: Coach K sticks up for Pitt, ACC

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Sara D. Davis

Over the past few days, I've taken the position of defending Pitt as not only an NCAA Tournament team, but one that probably deserves a higher seed that they're likely to get. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski recently pumped up some of the ACC's underrated teams, including Pitt:

"I said to [N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried] at the end of the game, 'I hope you guys get in. I don't understand it.' They won at Tennessee. They probably should have beaten Syracuse twice," Krzyzewski said. "I think they've played a really good schedule, and they've got one of the best players in the country. ...

"I'll get in trouble probably for saying it. Like the Atlantic 10, they're a really good conference. I hear people saying there are six teams in there. Come on. I mean, they're good, but put them in our conference and go through the meat grinder that our conference has to go through. But really ... our league should get more respect. The fact that Pitt comes in here and people are saying they have to do something, come on. Come on, man. I don't get it. The Clemson team we played [Friday] night is a heck of a basketball team."

I totally agree with that. The A-10 is everyone's darling this year but they're not the ACC. The upper teams, VCU and Saint Louis, are solid, but I don't think there's much more there than that.

UMass beat Clemson and BC, but lost to Florida State. George Washington, the third best team in the conference, struggled to beat some of the ACC's weaker teams, winning by two against Maryland and needing overtime to beat Miami. Dayton beat Georgia Tech. Several A-10 teams could have competed in the ACC this year - I don't think there's any disputing that. But save for perhaps VCU, not at the top. Those are largely middle of the pack ACC teams and in the ACC, they would have a difficult time trying to get into the NCAAs.

Pitt gets killed for the poor SOS and that's something they've got to work on in the future. But Coach K just says it best ... come on, man.

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