Under the guidance of head coach Kevin Stallings, Pitt suffered its first loss to Boston College since 2001 on Tuesday night, starting off with a flourish before wilting in the second half for an 81-58 loss — its 14th in a winless ACC campaign and its 19th of the season overall. As a result, Ken Pomeroy updated his unofficial rankings, placing Pitt at 229th out of 351 Division I teams.
With its new placement in the KenPom rankings, Pitt falls to the bottom of the Power Five, landing one spot behind California. The Panthers also rank third among the three Division I teams in the Pittsburgh area, as Pomeroy has Robert Morris at 226th and Duquesne at 194th, despite the two teams falling on hard times of their own since the start of conference play.
There’s an argument to be made that Pitt isn’t the worst team in the Power Five, as California has been its own brand of terrible as well. The Golden Bears were blown out by Chaminade 96-72 on Nov. 22. and hammered again by Central Arkansas 96-69 on Dec. 6. But they were also able to notch conference wins over Stanford and Oregon State in the Pac-12.
While Pitt’s losses have generally come at the hands of much stronger competition than the likes of the Silverswords and Bears, they haven’t managed any notable wins. That appears to be the difference, as California has topped two Pac-12 rivals in Stanford and Oregon State. Pitt, meanwhile, is the last remaining Power Five and Major Seven team without a conference win.
Pitt’s placement among Pittsburgh area teams is more debatable, as Duquesne and Robert Morris are both currently underperforming in the mid-major ranks after brief spells of success. The Panthers also beat the Dukes in a head-to-head matchup on Dec. 1, but that was with the assistance of now-injured star Ryan Luther.
Still, even with Luther out, it seems likely that Pitt, despite its faults this season, would prevail over Duquesne, and there’s little reason to think Robert Morris, which has lost four of its last five in Northeastern Conference play, would put up much more of a fight.
ESPN’s RPI is more reflective of popular opinion on that matter, as that ranking still shows Pitt leading the metro area at 179th. However, Robert Morris is oddly pegged as the second-strongest team in the area at 187th, with Duquesne coming in a distant third at 237th.
Regardless of where Pitt ends up in these rankings now or at the end of the season, the bottom line is that they point to an undeniable downturn in the program far exceeding the worst of what was expected when Stallings stocked the roster with freshmen over the offseason. Given that, Pitt will soon have to make an important decision regarding the coach’s future.