Despite a 2-0 week that included a demolition of Louisville and a revenge win over Florida State, the Pittsburgh Panthers are once more occupiers of the “received votes” section in this week’s AP Top 25, unable to earn that sought after ranking in the eyes of basketball media.
POLL ALERT: Alabama jumps to No. 1 in the men’s AP Top 25 college basketball poll for first time in 20 years; Houston, Purdue, UCLA, Kansas next.— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) February 13, 2023
See the full rankings: https://t.co/ZJG5mgWZhI pic.twitter.com/CkIvjPvj6m
The Panthers, receiving the 30th most vote points last week, earned 82 vote points this week, moving them only a singular spot up to 29th in the country. While neither win this week could be considered a marquee one, the Panthers did exactly what they had to do while other teams stumbled.
Teams like Clemson, Auburn, and Duke were all recipients of more votes than the Panthers last week and with each squad losing you would think that naturally, the Panthers would move right on up, but that wasn’t the case. Occupying those spots vacated by those three were three teams that all reeled off big wins this week, including a Northwestern team (that Pitt crushed in the Big 10-ACC Challenge) fresh off an upset over previously #1 Purdue.
Also jumping the Panthers was Missouri, lifted to #26 with their upset win over #10 Tennessee, and an Illinois team that earned a win over a Rutgers team that dropped out of the rankings this week.
The wait will continue in pursuit of the Panther’s first Top 25 appearance since early 2016, but Jeff Capel mentioned in today’s ACC coaches call that, “...it’s February 13th, we have a lot of season left.” At the end of the day, while national recognition would be nice, it’s consistent performance on the basketball court that will guide Pitt to the tournament, not media votes. Perhaps this will serve as another chip on the shoulder of a team that already has quite a bit of those, yet sit atop the ACC conference standings.
With a week that consists of a matchup at home with Boston College and a trip to Blacksburg for a matchup with Virginia Tech, if the Panthers keep chugging maybe, just maybe, they’ll be ranked this time next week.