Blog Entry

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

Posted on: February 24, 2009 10:28 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2009 12:45 am
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Well that didn't last long.

Roughly 30 hours after Pittsburgh ascended to No. 1 in the national polls, the Panthers fell on their face Tuesday night, losing 81-73 at Providence. Put another way, the team that started Tuesday with what was clearly the country's best body of work ended Tuesday with a loss to a team (Providence) that opened the season with a loss to Northeastern and entered this week with a 4-11 record against schools in the Top 100 of the CBSSports.com RPI (and only one victory against the Top 50).

(Sigh)

Some of this is just basketball, of course, more specifically what tends to happen to teams from power leagues regardless of their previous or future achievements. Remember, it was two years ago this week when Florida (i.e., the eventual 2007 national champion) lost three of four outings to Vanderbilt, LSU and Tennessee, and a year ago this week when Kansas (i.e., the eventual 2008 national champion) lost to Oklahoma State. Those inexplicable developments obviously didn't impact the big picture for Billy Donovan or Bill Self, and that's something in which Jamie Dixon can take solace. But this is still a rough defeat for the Panthers because it gives them a third Big East loss and pushes them from first to fourth in the league standings, and when you're enjoying an unprecedented amount of attention like Pittsburgh spent last week enjoying it's a downer to watch it all go away so quickly and without warning.

That said, it's just one game.

Just one loss.

And the reality is that the Panthers -- with a national-best six victories against the Top 25 of the CBSSports.com RPI -- are still in solid shape to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. That's the good news. But their margin for error has become smaller because of this awful performance Tuesday night, and now Connecticut, North Carolina, Memphis and perhaps even Louisville or Marquette  -- honestly, who knows? -- are in position to possibly become the seventh new No. 1 when the polls are updated next week, although it's getting to the point where it's difficult to find anybody who seems worthy of the honor.

 

 

 

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Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: February 25, 2009 12:20 am
 

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

If they want consistency, the writers should put Memphis #1...they aren't the best team, but given the s**tty conference they're in, you know they'll be #1 for a while...at least until the 2nd round of the NCAAs...
I've heard that mantra before.

Keep chanting.  

 

 




Since: Feb 24, 2009
Posted on: February 25, 2009 12:15 am
 

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

I don't understand why the loss of a #1 ranked team is just brushed off as if it was supposed to happen.  Reality check: Pittsburgh, arguably the best team in the country, regardless of RPI, just went down to Providence College, a team that gets no credit for anything they accomplish. When they beat Syracuse: "Oh, it's no big deal, Onuaku wasn't healthy."  Does that mean Syracuse wasn't really ranked 18th in the country at the time? Just doesn't make sense...

And comparing Providence to teams like Vandy, LSU and Tennessee?! That is simply absurd. PC, even though I'm a die-hard fan, is not on the same level as those teams and it's not even fair to put them in the same sentence. And to still give Pitt strong hope of being a number 1 seed in March with this huge loss, is ridiculous.  Yes, maybe they will win the rest of their conference games, but this loss to PC can't just be washed away from "Key Losses." 

I wonder when Providence will crack the Top 25...maybe if they go undefeated one year, that should do it.




Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2009 11:52 pm
 

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

I think it's a little overstated to characterize Providence as "a lot" worse than Texas at this stage.  Besides, Oklahoma already owns a loss that is "a lot" worse than this PC loss (Arkansas) and two losses slightly worse than Pitt's other two losses (Kansas and Texas vs. Louisville and Villanova)...and Pitt's losses have all come on the road.  So I'm not sure what your point is...

 




Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2009 11:32 pm
 

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

It's just "one" loss?

Last I checked, Providence isn't Texas.  Oklahoma just lost to Texas, without Griffin for most of the game, and lost little ground.

Pitt lost to a team a lot worse than Texas, and don't have any excuses.  They should be getting SLAMMED right now.




Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2009 11:05 pm
 

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

If they want consistency, the writers should put Memphis #1...they aren't the best team, but given the s**tty conference they're in, you know they'll be #1 for a while...at least until the 2nd round of the NCAAs...




Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2009 11:05 pm
 

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

Do AP and coahces poll voters have permission to just start their ballots at #2 this week?

 




Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2009 10:56 pm
 

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

The wildest thing about this is that only 1 AP voter, George Geise from the Great Falls (MT) Tribune, voted UConn ahead of Pitt this week. (I saw this on a Yahoo! hoops blog posted earlier)

Now, was Mr. Geise just lazy (since UConn had lost to Pitt last week), or did he (cue spooky music!) know something?????

Guess we'll never find out...




Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2009 10:44 pm
 

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

Should college basketball have a BCS system where the computer determines rankings from week to week?  It begs the question so sports writers, coaches, Gary Parrish don't have to explain from one week to the next how they picked so-and-so team.  It still boggles my mine how Carolina loses to an unranked team, Maryland,  yet only drops 2 positions from 2nd to 4th.  Yet you look at Wake Forest who was as high as 10th in one poll prior to losing to Duke at Duke on Sunday night, then drop in one poll down to 14th. 

I believe Wake dropped 3 positions after losing to a Top Ten team at their building.  That does not seem fair.  It's almost like you're better off being ranked in the top 5 because if you lose a game, you're not going to drop by more than 2 spots.  That really doesn't make sense.  Oklahoma loses to unranked Texas and dropped from 2nd down to only 4th.  Where is the logic in that.  Now after the Kansas loss I'd wouldn't be surprised to see Oklahoma only drop to 5th in this wacky poll-deciding system. 

Get the computer involved so we can bark at the computer. 




Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2009 10:43 pm
 

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

Crazy how that works.  Now, people are all over the "Blair in foul trouble" thing...but that wasn't the reason for the loss.  His foul trouble had minimal impact...and in fact he had 17 points and 8 boards which is just a below average overall night for him.

 

The loss was because 1) Pitt lost the TO battle 18-9...and that's something Pitt rarely does.  They played sloppy (including usual rock LeVance Fields) and didn't protect the basketball, and it cost them the game and their (for now, meaningless anyway) #1 spot in the nation.  2) Providence played like the desperate (and fairly talented) team they were.  3) Pitt shot horribly in the first half, and had a string of circumstances/calls/bounces/whateve

r (legitimately) not go their way when trying to claw back in midway though the second.  It happens.

 

A second point:  I love the "x is overrated" talk that comes with any number one team in anything losing.  As Gary succinctly pointed out last week, Pitt was the only reasonable choice for the top spot on Monday...so how does that make them overrated?  They lost and will drop accordingly, but they were #1 because they belonged there.  They are still one of a handful of teams who have some separation from the pack.

 




Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2009 10:41 pm
 

From No. 1 in the nation to No. 4 in the Big East

Gary,

I think one of the reasons so many top-ranked teams lose this time of year to inferior opponents is because we're getting down to tournament crunch time where teams that are "on the bubble" are not only feeling like they have to win out to make the tournament, but also getting really hyped about the potential for a marquee win that would put them in the tournament over teams without a marquee win. Additionally, teams at the top may (I'm not saying this is a definite, but just a possibility) be trying different things during their weekly practices in attempts to add variety to their game plans in preparation for the tournament. Due to the lack of familiarity with the new things being tried (maybe it's like someone like Coach K going zone like he did a few years ago, maybe it's coming out with a press when you haven't pressed all season) some top teams get out of rythym in the lead-up to a game against a seemingly inferior opponent, making them ripe for an upset (particularly if the game is on the road).

 

 



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