The Pittsburgh Panthers are NCAA tournament bound and are likely to finish in the top four of the Big East regular season standings, meaning that they will get a double-bye for the first round of the Big East tournament.
How did they get this hot after being under the radar at the beginning of the season?
The Panthers are 10th in the country in assists in arguably the best conference in the country. The Panthers do not really have a superstar player, but the entire team contributes to each victory. Tray Woodall is averaging nearly 5.5 assists a game, and the other guard and exceptional passer, James Robinson, is averaging nearly 3.5 per game. Those two players alone are averaging more assists together per game than some of the top teams in the country’s entire roster. The Panthers enjoy setting each other up almost as they enjoy scoring themselves, and it makes for an extremely coherent team that can compete with the any team in the country.
Pittsburgh’s unselfishness with the basketball will help the Panthers go very far in the NCAA tournament. Many of the top teams tend to lose unexpectedly in the tournament when their best player doesn’t play well; the Panthers won’t have this problem because, if one player has a bad game, the others contribute to overcome his absence.
Also, if anyone gets injured it will not devastate this team like it would other teams in the country. Pittsburgh has all the pieces to be a surprise Elite Eight or Final Four team.