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Pitt left out of Joe Lunardi's initial 2015-16 ESPN Bracketology rankings

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier, I mentioned Pitt's long odds to win the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers aren't even expected to make the NCAA Tournament right now, let alone win it, according to ESPN's Joe Lunardi.

In his first Bracketology of the preseason, Lunardi left the Panthers out of the tourney. Not only that, but he doesn't have Pitt sniffing the NCAAs, leaving them off of his list of eight teams that will barely miss the Big Dance.

While I don't expect Pitt to win a title, obviously, I give them better chances than Lunardi does for making the NCAAs. As I already pointed out today, Pitt returns most of their key players from a young team and almost has to be better than the 19 wins they had this year by default. And keep in mind, this was a team that was right in the thick of the NCAA Tournament discussion before fading at the end of the year.

To guarantee the Panthers will make the NCAAs in 2016 would be foolish - but personally, I still like their chances. It's perfectly reasonable for the team to improve this year, but still fall short in what should be a very difficult ACC, as Jim mentioned on Thursday. But you'd also like to think they won't completely fall apart down the stretch in very winnable games.

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