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Pitt Basketball Picked 10th in ACC Preseason Media Poll

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

We've got a football loaded day here, but had to take a brief respite for some basketball business.

With the season starting soon, the ACC is holding its preseason media days this week. The media put together their preseason poll and not much is expected of the Panthers. Pitt was picked to finish only tenth in the conference for this upcoming season.

This is hardly cause for alarm. My guess is that the media voting in these polls are largely basing their selections on how teams did in the previous year and who they have coming back. And while Pitt does have four of five starters returning, the team didn't perform all that well last season missing the NCAA Tournament and finishing 19-15. In addition, the Panthers also had a ton of roster turnover as they lost several players to graduation or transfer and added many transfers themselves.

For the record, I don't see a tenth place finish for this team for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the Panthers return four of their top five scorers. Those guys are all a year better and Michael Young and Jamel Artis in particular are budding stars. The lone starter that doesn't return, Cameron Wright, was a solid player for the team but not a superstar. And while Pitt welcomes several new transfers, many of those players could provide upgrades.

In the middle will be some combination of Rafael Maia, Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, and Rozelle Nix. Last year, Pitt was so underwhelming at center that they were forced to play Young, a true power forward, there. Young goes back to power forward while Artis slides back to small forward, and whatever production Pitt gets from this trio will certainly be more than what they got from the other options the team had at center last season.

Other additions at guard will make the Panthers much better in the backcourt, too. Pitt lost Josh Newkirk to transfer and the aforementioned Wright to graduation, but both were relatively inconsistent. Additions include Sterling Smith, Jonathan Milligan, and true freshman Damon Wilson. While what the Panthers get there is a bit of an unknown but it's hard to imagine that group not bringing at least as much to the table as Wright and the 2014-15 version of Newkirk did.

I don't particularly blame the media for these picks. As someone who's participated in a fair share of these preseason type of polls, they're really not all that easy much of the time and you really have to have studied up on each team to be able to do them right. Even then, so many factors such as true freshmen and transfers can throw things off. Really, it's just one big crapshoot (i.e. see Georgia Tech football this year).

But I for one don't see the Panthers finishing that far down the ACC totem poll.

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