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Pitt Panthers hope to stir up a little March Madness in ACC Tournament

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NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With a 15-16 record, let’s face it — the Pitt men’s basketball team isn’t headed to the NCAA Tournament barring some sort of miracle. But the Panthers are technically not eliminated from contention just yet, despite that sub-.500 mark or their 6-14 conference tournament.

That’s because the Panthers will play in the ACC Tournament, checking in as the No. 13 seed.

So what does Pitt’s path look like in the postseason event? Well, it’s just as daunting as you might expect. Here’s the full bracket.

The Panthers do have a winnable opener, facing off against No. 12 Wake Forest. The game is basically a pick ‘em and while Wake defeated the Panthers earlier this season, it was a close contest where Pitt actually had an 18-point lead early in the game.

If Pitt manages to win that one, they’ll need to then take out No. 5 seed NC State. That might sound like a mismatch but the Panthers hung with the Wolfpack in a close game only a little more than a week ago, losing a back-and-forth game, 77-73. But after that, they would then need to defeat a rested Duke team, in North Carolina, just to get to the Final Four of the ACC Tournament. And to get to the Big Dance, they’d of course need to win both of the final two games on top of that.

Crazier things have happened, I suppose. And while all three of those aforementioned teams did defeat Pitt this season, none did so by double digits. But the Panthers’ biggest problem is always getting consistency on offense and this just doesn’t strike you as the team that can get hot and reel off a bunch of wins in a row. If everything went their way, perhaps Pitt grabs a couple of ACC Tournament wins. Expecting any more than that, though ...

Well, let’s just start with beating Wake on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

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