Pittsburgh Panthers Need To Be Ranked

By Gregory Philson
Lamar Patterson
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Panthers just keep on doing what they always do — win. Coach Jamie Dixon‘s club easily handled Wake Forest at home, 80-65, Saturday and are now 15-1 overall and 3-0 in the ACC.

When the top-25 rankings come out Monday, Pittsburgh should see its name by a number for the first time this season. While Pitt does not have the marquee victory some voters may want to see before ranking the Panthers, the eye-test should place them where they rightfully belong. Pittsburgh has only played one bad game in a 44-43 loss against Cincinnati. The Panthers had no reason to even have a shot in the game and still almost won. The Bearcats have since displayed they are a respectable team.

Pittsburgh is also winning easily over its opponents. All three conference victories have been decided by at least 12 points.

Senior guard Lamar Patterson is one of college basketball’s most underrated players despite being one its most well-rounded. He is averaging more than 17 points, more than four assists and is a terrific rebounder. Patterson scored 27 points, dished out six assists and grabbed five rebounds against Wake. Talib Zanna is a solid player in the paint. He averages 12 points and nearly eight rebounds while playing smart defense. He recorded a double-double early in the second half and finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds Saturday.

Maybe not being ranked drives the Panthers, but now is the time they get the respect they deserve to have. Pittsburgh is one of the best 25 teams in the country, and a number needs to be to the left of the team name.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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