Missing out on abid on the surface looks like a failed season. With the type of team that Jamie Dixon has, it might be a blessing in disguise.
Let's face it, the Panthers are not going to the NCAA tournament unless they make a deep run (if not win the championship) at the. For the few of you who still think wins over a defeated Syracuse team, UNC and Notre Dame are good enough, you're right.
For those of you pointing out losses to Miami and NC State as bad losses, you're wrong. It is the losses to Boston College, Hawaii and Virginia Tech that stand out more than the wins on the resume. Without those losses, Pitt is a tournament team despite choking to a team like Wake Forest. Bad losses always stand out more that triumphant victories.
That being said, if Pitt can secure a one or two seed in the NIT, I personally count this as a succesful season.
Dixon has quite a young team, one that could benefit from more regulated practice as well as a couple of home games against formidable competition.
I have always wondered, is getting into the tournament, only to lose in the first round a worthy accomplishment for a team from a major conference? Sure, if Duquesne were to get into the big dance and get blown out by a team like Kansas, more power to them, that is a program-building loss.
On the flip side if a team like Pitt barely makes it into the tournament and loses to a team like say Tulsa, does that do more harm to a young team than it does benefit?
If a program that is accustomed to making the tournament does not but still won 20 games that season do the young players on that team then work extra hard to make sure that they make it the following year?
By all accounts, next years team should be significantly better than this one. The only senior who contributes anything consistently is Cameron Wright, so it will be another year of experience for a fairly young roster. Another summer at the Pete working on making the tournament, plus any loss that you feel with the departure of Wright is instantly made up with the addition of Durand Johnson.
Obviously, the goal is to make the tournament every season. I think there is just an argument to be made that with the type of team Pitt has, a bid to the NIT could be a blessing in disguise.