The Pittsburgh Panthers have had some impressive wins in the Big East, but have lost against a couple of the better teams in the conference. The Panthers must start winning in the Big East or Pittsburgh risks losing its momentum.
The Panthers will look back on their loss to Rutgers in early January at the end of the regular season as the reason that they missed a better chance at the Big East regular season title. Pittsburgh, despite six losses, has not lost to any other team that was not ranked (or eventually ranked). Pittsburgh is practically in the tournament unless the Panthers tank in its next few games.
On Monday, Pittsburgh will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a game that will determine how the Panthers end the season. After impressive wins over the No.6 Syracuse Orange and the No. 17 Cincinnati Bearcats, the Panthers must have felt invincible only for their weakness in the paint to be exploited again by the No. 18 Marquette Golden Eagles. Pittsburgh needs to pull together after this disappointing loss and how the Panthers play against the Fighting Irish will foreshadow how Pittsburgh ends the season.
Pittsburgh is a great team, capable of surprising everyone in the NCAA tournament. Year after year a team from the top five or six of the Big East makes its way into the Sweet Sixteen (winning the NCAA tournament in UConn’s case). The Big East is built to challenge teams all season long, leading to teams that continuously get better.