Pitt’s disappointing season continued on Wednesday afternoon, as the Panthers’ last chance to play their way into the NCAA Tournament ended with a whimper and a 64-52 loss to No. 13 Georgetown.
For a few minutes, it looked like the Panthers might actually put together a run, as they jumped out to an early lead over the Hoyas. Coming off of a 72-60 win over Georgetown a month ago, the thought started creeping in — can Pitt pull a Kemba?
Instead, it was just the latest in a long line of disappointments for the Panthers. Ashton Gibbs — who will end a sterling career with just a single win in the Big East tournament, yesterday’s 73-59 first round win over St. John’s — struggled (again), Pitt’s big men were abused inside (again) and Tray Woodall looked a shell of the player he was early in the season (again).
Frankly, it just never looked like this group was on the same page. They weren’t playing all that well early in the season before Woodall injured his groin, they were atrocious without Woodall in the lineup and they went back to consistent mediocrity when he returned.
Jamie Dixon is, undoubtedly, one of the best coaches in the business, which is why this year’s performance should be telling. If he wasn’t able to find a way to get the Panthers to turn their season around, than this team may have been doomed from the get-go. What makes it all the more astonishing is the fact that the Panthers, on paper, look like a team that is right in Dixon’s wheelhouse. They have big guys. They have a play-maker at the point. They have a couple versatile, blue-collar roughnecks. They have Ashton Gibbs.
The only thing they don’t have are wins to show for it.
Its sad to see Gibbs go out like this. He was a great player in this league for a long time. He deserved better. But maybe he showed us the writing on the wall.
Gibbs almost went pro last spring. He was emphatic about the fact that he wanted to leave school even though every single pundit believed it to be a bad idea.
Maybe he saw what was coming.