Blog Entry

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

Posted on: February 21, 2009 11:58 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2009 11:10 am

Pittsburgh, you may now proceed to the top of the national rankings.

That's the end result of a wild Saturday on which No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 North Carolina both lost (to unranked Texas and unranked Maryland), clearing the way for the Panthers -- who beat top-ranked Connecticut last Monday -- to rise to the top of the Top 25 (and one) late Sunday night, then the AP and Coaches polls on Monday. It's the only logical move, so much so that I imagine Pitt will get all 72 first-place votes in the AP poll and all 31 in the Coaches poll. Anything short of that will be proof that somebody with a vote isn't paying attention, and if such a person presents himself (or herself), that person will be Poll Attacked on Monday afternoon.

Here's all you need to know:

  • Pitt is 25-2 overall.
  • Nobody has more wins or fewer losses.
  • Pitt has compiled this record against a schedule rated 12th nationally.
  • Pitt has six wins against the top 25 of's RPI rankings.
  • Nobody else has more than four.
  • Both of Pitt's losses came on the road.
  • The losses were to the schools ranked seventh (Louisville) and 12th (Villanova) in the latest AP poll.

So to summarize, the Panthers have more good wins (i.e., wins against the top 25 of's RPI rankings) than anybody, just as few losses as the other elite teams, and no bad losses (like Oklahoma's loss to Arkansas, North Carolina's loss to Boston College, Connecticut's loss to Georgetown, etc.).

Best I can tell, that makes Jamie Dixon's team the easy No. 1.

Any other opinion is a faulty opinion.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 20, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2009 9:33 pm

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

Pitt has a cupcake schedule until the conference games but then their schedule is no joke.

I love how people make this statement without really knowing what they are talking about.

I would consider a cupcake schedule playing teams that will not reach the NCAA tournament.  I am not saying that Pitt has the best non-conference schedule out of all of the teams, because that would simply be a lie.  They only played one team from a major conference that will make the NCAA tournament barring a Georgia-like miracle run in a conference tourney and that was Florida State.

HOWEVER...Pitt also did not simply beat up on fodder from the smaller conferences.

Pitt beat Vermont (12-3 in conference and 22-7 overall), Belmont (13-5 in conference and 17-10 overall), Duquesne (7-5 in conference and 16-9 overall), Siena (15-1 in conference and 22-6 overall), Robert Morris (13-3 in conference and 19-10 overall).  Almost half of their non-conference games were to teams that are either dominating their conference, or are near the top.  While Duquesne may not be near the top of their conference, they did beat Xavier who are ranked. They also beat Florida State who are 8-4 in the ACC (tied for second place) and 21-6 overall. They beat three non-conference teams that already have 20+ wins and that number could be as high as 7 teams after conference tournaments are over.

They are 6-2 against CBS' top 25 RPI and one of those teams is Siena, who is probably considered a "cupcake" team by some.


Since: Feb 22, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2009 9:33 pm

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

A lot of teams look at Pitt this way this season and that's fine. It might because of their reputation from years past of always having solid teams and continuing to go out in the Sweet 16. However, with that being said this years Pitt team is different and they are by all means for real. Sam Young and Levance Fields are both as solid as they come and both have had great seasons. Pitt's secondary scoring from their other starters like Biggs and Jermaine Dixon have been very consistent. Plus, their bench is very deep and solid as well and they have guys capable of coming into the game 9-10 deep and not missing a beat. Blair getting into serious foul trouble and being a complete non-factor in the game is the only thing I believe standing in the way of Pitt and a National Championship this season. Even in the games Pitt lost to very good teams in Louisville and Villanova on the road Blair was pretty much a non-factor and Pitt still had a chance to win both of those games and in fact they were up on Louisville by 10 with about 10 minutes left until Pitt just went cold and Louisville hit all their shots down the stretch.  Now I know Blair is going to not go all 6 games in the NCCA tournament without having at least 1 game where he commits 3 fouls and is in trouble mid-way through. But as long as he is in the game and doesnt foul out late this Pitt team will be cutting the nets down on Monday night April 6th bank on it...

Since: Feb 22, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2009 9:15 pm

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

I totally agree with you that at this point if Pitt is not playing in the Final 4 in Detroit I will be completely shocked. This team wants it really bad this year and if you listen to them and watch them how they go about their business during practice and especially during the games they are simply on a mission this season. DeJuan Blair has a picture of Ford Field hanging on his wall in his room and said he continually looks at it all the time every single day. Incase you havent noticed or been watching the way Blair has played he is playing like a man possessed right now and a player that wants to get to the Final 4 and win the National Championship. Just look at the way he dominated Thabeet a Naismith player of the year canidate last week in the win over UConn and that's all you need to know about Blair and how much he thrives on playing in big games against big-time players. With Pitt jumping up to Number 1 in the polls now this week, they now hold their destiny in their own hands if they win out the rest of their games conference tournament included  which will definitely not be an easy thing to do, they will be the number 1 overall seed in the NCCA Tournament and probably have the easiest road to getting to Detroit in terms of locations and matchups out of all 4 number 1 seeds in the tournament.

Since: Oct 4, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2009 9:04 pm

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

My top two lines:

Pitt, UNC, Conn, Okla  (Pitt-Okla brackets for one semifinal)

Mich State, Louisville, Duke, Memphis (listed under the team they would play in the elite 8)

This would be an hellacious set of Elite 8 games if they all came to pass.  Pitt-Mich. Statewould be a rematch of last year's second round game in Denver, UNC-Louisville two of the premier full-court teams in the country, Conn-Duke two great programs that both will play you any way you want (with the possible exception of Judo-style), and Memphis-Oklahoma with Willie Warren vs. Tyreke Evans in the backcourt and the Griffin brothers vs. Dozier and Taggart on the glass.

I don't see much hope for other teams cracking the top line - Memphis lost to a couple of Big East teams, so it's hard to justify knocking Pitt or Conn down to the 2-line for them, UNC would probably have to lose twice to be in danger with their talent, rep, and 13 SOS vs. Memphis' 43, and Okla will probably get a pass for anything that happens to them until Blake Griffin gets healthy.  Michinga State is in more danger of falling off the 2-line than moving up, as is Duke,  Louisville could conceivably move up to the top line if it won the Big East tourney, especially if they beat both Pitt and Conn.

Other teams that could sneak up to the 2-line would be Wake or Clemson if they make the ACC final, or similarly Marquette or Villanova with a great run in the Big East tournament.  In both cases they would probably displace the 2-seed I have shown from their conference.  Missouri or Kansas might get there by beating Okla twice; Mizzou woul dhave a better case I think since Blake G. would probably be available for both games.

I don't think anybody else in in the picture for the top 2 lines - PAC-10 and SEC have a lot of 5-6-7-8-9-10 seed caliber teams but LSU is the only team in either of those conferences with fewer than 4 losses IN CONFERENCE, and parity has not yet reached the point where that's a credential for a 1- or 2-seed.  LSU has been playing well, but their NC schedule was Jackson State, Alcorn State, Northwestern State, Centenary, Troy, Cal State Fullerton, Grambling, Nicholls State, Texas A&M (a loss to a team with an RPI of 40), McNeese State, Washington State, Louisiana Lafayette, and Southeastern Louisiana.  Talk about cupcakes!

I am watching the Pistons-Cavs game as I write this, and I want to know - did Maryland play in castoff Cavs unis yesterday or are the Cavs wearing used Terps gear?  In any case, those unis are UGLY.  Ben Wallace with a pretty interior pass to Varejao for the layup and one.  Who knew those two could even manage to run a 2-man layup drill?

Since: Nov 14, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2009 9:01 pm

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)


Just one problem with your knock on Pitt.  The guy you claim they rely on too much, isn't even close to being their leading scorer.  I understand the rebounding thing, but if you're going to claim a team relies too much on one guy, he should at least be their leading scorer.  Yeah, Sam Young didn't do much against UCONN, and Levance Fields and his like 10 to 1 assist to turnover ratio isn't very good either.

You've clearly only watched a couple of their games, but that's to be expected.   Not everyone can watch them all.

Since: Feb 28, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2009 8:54 pm

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

"I totally agree.  Gottlieb for some reason hates the Big East and loves the ACC."

ESPN. I think they have a contract with the ACC sometimes.  When Carolina or Duke lose, they make it a quick clip... when they win, they play it... over and over and over and over..... even if it's not interesting.

I think Pitt and Marquette, who have outperformed ACC counterparts N.C. and Duke, have gotten the shaft in the press, pardon my French.

Since: Jan 4, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2009 8:47 pm

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

I disagree. Pitt is more than one player.  They are pretty much in a league of their own.  Expect at least a final four for Pitt.

Since: Jan 4, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2009 8:44 pm

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

I totally agree.  Gottlieb for some reason hates the Big East and loves the ACC.

Since: Feb 28, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2009 8:23 pm

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

It's really not up for debate.  Fields, Young, and Blair are the core of a team that plays hard and selfless... they can win even when they aren't shooting well... and never get outhustled.

They are technically sound, very strong, and have heart.

They can beat anyone and most teams don't stand a chance... even their losses, they outplayed their opponents... including Louisville (sorry fellow fans, but when Blair was on the floor they were better on both sides).

Now.  UConn has a chance to alter perceptions.  They play Pitt once more during the season and potentially once more in the Big East tournament. So that's potentially two games before the NCAA's.

Either way, both Pitt and UConn deserve a 1 seed barring catastrophe this season.

The question I asked earlier remains... who is the best of the rest?  Who deserves  the other two #1 seeds and the four #2 seeds?

To me, the question isn't who is #1 right now... it's who are the top four and the second best four.  After 1 and 2 the edge in the tournament is less and less.  So the top eight are VERY important.

So who are the best eight?

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2009 8:18 pm

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

I was skeptical of how real OU was until last night.  They were very tough without Griffin.  The 3's were off the charts to keep them in the game but it was a strong showing.  Had OU won, I still think Pitt should have been considered for #1 this week.  Pitt has a cupcake schedule until the conference games but then their schedule is no joke.  In the last ten games they beat 4 top 20 RPI teams and OU's best win in the last 10 was ranked 40 (RPI). 

Both Pitt and OU have a tough roads in front of them to end the season.  Pitt's is especially tough - Marquette and UConn and then maybe again the the tourney.  If Griffin stays healthy they should both be 1-2 seeds regardless how they end the year.

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