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Unranked Pitt Panthers Getting Little Respect, Despite 9-1 Record

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe it’s because of their recent early round exits  in the NCAA Tournament.  Perhaps it’s the suspect non-conference schedule.  No matter the reason, it’s clear the Pitt Panthers (9-1) are getting little respect from college poll voters.

Although the Big East Conference will be weaker next year, right now it remains one of the toughest conferences in basketball.

Saturday the Panthers defeated North Florida 89-47.  Even before that win, the Panthers earned the respect of North Florida Coach Matt Driscoll, who said Pitt is the toughest opponent he faced this season.

“I’ll tell you what about this team. I’ve played Kansas State, Memphis, Florida State and Minnesota this year.  I thought that Minnesota was the best team we have played until tonight.  Now I would say since we are done playing all these money games that it would be Pitt as number one, Minnesota would be two, Kansas State as three, Florida State, then Memphis,” said Driscoll.  I’m a voter for the top 25 and I voted for you Pitt the last two weeks.  I did it not because of my heart, but because of my head.  Anytime you lead the country in assists, it tells you that you have a great group of guys.”

Still, Pitt Coach Jamie Dixon knows his team must improve before moving into the meat of their schedule, against Big East opponents.

“We’re heading in the right direction against the zone, and we’re going to see a lot of zone because a lot of teams in our league play zone,” said Dixon.