I was kind of amused at ESPN’s game predictor for the Pitt-Duke game in the Panthers’ last contest. Pitt was about a 30-point underdog or so and ESPN promptly gave the Panthers a healthy 0.8% chance of winning. I commented at the time that it was the highest such odds I can recall seeing the site churn out for a game between two conference teams.
Pitt returns to face NC State and, well, the outlook is bad but not quite as bleak as that for the Duke game.
Well, it’s a start, I guess.
All kidding aside, no, I don’t expect Pitt to earn its first ACC win against NC State. The Wolfpack have had kind of an interesting year with losses to UNC-Greensboro and Northern Iowa but they’ve also beaten ranked Duke, Arizona, and Clemson teams. They also beat Penn State by seven whereas Pitt lost their game against the Nittany Lions by 31.
NC State is 13-7 on the year and 3-4 in conference, so you have to think they’ll come out knowing they can’t afford to lose a game like this. Sure, they’ve got in-state rival North Carolina immediately after the Panthers but, even if they are looking ahead a little, if there’s one team you can afford to do that against this season, it’s Pitt.
That’s not really meant as a slight against the Panthers. I mean, they’re trying and such. It’s just that, the few times they’ve actually hung with teams for a while in conference play, they end up fading down the stretch. Pitt still has yet to keep a conference for from beating them by double digits and there’s just a large margin for error when playing against them this year.