Calling a game like this a 'must win' when we've got so much basketball left to be played is probably not 100% accurate. But when you're a team like Pitt, it's got be somewhere around 90-95%.
Pitt faces Virginia Tech and tonight's game (and those like it) are ones the team has to have if they want to make the NCAA Tournament, as I wrote about today. The reason is because this latest iteration of the Panthers just isn't one that has the look of one capable of pulling out great wins. Because of that, it's pretty mandatory to beat the lower-ranked teams in the conference and pad the ACC win total.
Virginia Tech sits comfortably near the bottom of the conference at 8-11 and are still looking for their first ACC win. Not only does Pitt need the victory to add to their total, but they need to avoid a bad loss just as much.
It's also important for Pitt to get into the win category from a psychological standpoint on a couple of fronts since Notre Dame is next up for the Panthers and a loss tonight very easily could mean a four-game slide. That can't be great for the players to endure and I've got to think that for the selection committee to see that at the end of the season, it's not a positive, either.
The game is on ESPNU at 7:00 p.m. Join us for the live thread tonight to comment live during the game.