Pitt’s claimed one Big East regular-season title during Jamie Dixon’s tenure – in 2004, his first year out. Since then, they’ve won 175 games (76 in conference), but keep missing out that second crown. The Panthers have finished second three times.
This may finally be the year he nabs that second one. But he doesn’t even want to think about it.
“We still have a long way to go … it’s only Jan. 17, so it’s early,” Dixon told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We need to be a team that keeps improving. We have improved dramatically over just two months and our seniors have done some incredible work to improve themselves. When you see your seniors improve like this, then it gives inspiration to all of your players.”
The Panthers (18-1, 6-0) are the only team without a Big East loss and have remaining games against league punching bags DePaul, Rutgers, and South Florida (twice). Coupled with the fact that the Panthers are balanced, deep and really friggin’ good, I’d say their chances are more than fair.
Just ask Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.
“Pitt is a tremendous basketball team,” Boeheim said. “To me, it’s probably one of the best, if not the best Pitt team, we have played. They have a lot of weapons — great senior leadership and strong juniors. When you start three seniors and two juniors, that’s a lot of experience and good players.”
Pitt’s headed for 27, 28 wins and 12 or 13 in conference play. Most years, that’ll get you a title. We’ll see if Dixon gets his.
Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.