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Despite Duke win, Pitt cannot afford to let up in remaining games

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the Pitt basketball team pulled off the huge upset that had been missing from their resume with an impressive double-digit victory against No. 15 Duke. Despite the big win that should get the team into the NCAA Tournament, the Panthers can't afford to let up the rest of the way.

Next up for Pitt is a road game with Virginia Tech. The Hokies aren't a great team, but at 16-13 and on the road, may not be a pushover. Pitt easily defeated them earlier this year by 19 points, but that was at home and in a game where they couldn't do much wrong offensively, shooting 53% from the field and turning the ball over a manageable nine times.

The Hokies also own a win over then No. 4 Virginia and lost to North Carolina, Louisville, and Notre Dame by a total of only 15 points. That's not even to mention that they defeated both North Carolina State and Clemson - two teams that beat the Panthers.

After that, they will face Georgia Tech to close the season. That game is also on the road with only three days off in between. Pitt fans don't need to be told that the Yellow Jackets nearly beat them at The Pete, losing by only five. Georgia Tech has a few nice wins this year, defeating No. 4 Virginia and No. 19 Notre Dame. At 17-12, the Yellow Jackets still have hopes of getting into the NCAA Tournament and you can bet that if they upset Louisville on Tuesday that they will be gunning even harder for Pitt.

Pitt will then, of course, go on to the ACC Tournament to face an opponent TBD.

One thing that stood out in the Duke win was just how dominant Pitt was on both offense and defense. At one point, the Panthers had a 23-point lead, which was the most the Blue Devils had trailed all season. The 14-point defeat was also the worst Duke had suffered this year. Pitt was able to dominate by playing full throttle and with an intensity we haven't really seen this year. Getting up to play Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech on the road might not be as easy, but head coach Jamie Dixon has to find a way to make it happen. The last thing Pitt really can afford is a free fall by losing both of the two regular season games.

As of right now, the Panthers are in pretty good shape for the Big Dance. But could they afford to lose both road games and also the first game of the ACC Tournament and still get in?

That's why winning at least one more game is so important. The Panthers need to take care of business and keep winning.

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