First of all, I want to state that if I had a vote for the rankings my top five would be like this:
- Ohio State
The only real question in my mind was between Pittsburgh and Ohio State, but when you lose a game I believe you should drop more than one spot, so two spots is sufficient.
I heard a lot of experts this week talk about Texas being the best team in the country and that I am fine with. I also heard how Texas went into Kansas and beat the Jayhawks, which is very impressive.
What I didn’t hear ONE time (maybe they mentioned it when I wasn’t looking so somebody help me out) was that the Panthers beat the Longhorns at Madison Square Garden 68-66 in November. I don’t care when it happened, because it was early, but all I care about is that it did happen.
We all know that Pittsburgh doesn’t get a lot of credit. They don’t have NBA caliber players, they aren’t exciting, they aren’t flashy and the program isn’t full of rich tradition like North Carolina, Duke, UCLA or Kansas, just to name of few.
Michigan State had to lose a billion games this year before not being in the top 25. If that was Pittsburgh, I am sure it would only take a few losses.
Rankings don’t mean anything as of now anyways, but it is just for conversation.
Pittsburgh has defeated:
Maryland (neutral floor)
Texas (neutral floor)
Duquesne (neutral floor)
@ West Virginia (No Ashton Gibbs)
@ Villanova (No Ashton Gibbs
Texas lost to Connecticut at home, Pittsburgh and at USC by 17.
Texas has defeated:
@ Michigan State
@ OK State
@ Texas A&M
Solid victories, but if you take Kansas and North Carolina out of the mix the quality shrinks because Michigan State, OK State, Texas A&M and Illinois are all struggling.
Ohio State has defeated:
@ Florida State
This is why Ohio State would be my number three team if I had a vote. They haven’t played the level of competition that Pittsburgh or even Texas has and their quality wins are lacking.
Kansas has defeated:
Kansas hasn’t had the schedule Pittsburgh has had. They have wins that are decent, not great.
Looking at the schedules and quality wins, there is no doubt in my mind that the Panthers should at least be number two if not number one.
This is, arguably, the best chance the Panthers have of making a Final 4. A couple years ago when Pittsburgh almost made the Final 4 there was much better competition. This year, the Panthers have played well, dealt with injury and have played great basketball when highly ranked. Not to mention, Division 1 basketball is lacking great teams.
If they can get healthy and click on all cylinders come March, we are looking at a Final 4 team.
About the Author
Written by Justin Welton
Born in Franklin, PA. Life-long Pittsburgh sports fan + Boston Celtics. Attending Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Working for WCUC - 91.7 and WCUB-TV. Clarion Call writer for two years.