Bubble busted? Pitt falls to Wake Forest, 66-69
By: Siva Sundharam
As we are approaching what looks to be the final few regular season games for the Pitt Men’s basketball team (19-11, 8-8 ACC) it is no secret that this team is on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. By most measures this team was considered to be on the outside looking in. That was before the debacle that took place last night in Winston-Salem against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (13-16, 5-11 ACC).
The game stayed fairly close throughout the first half which ended with the Panthers finding themselves down by two points at the break 37-35. All things seem to come together in the second half as Pitt took at two point deficit from halftime and turned it into a nine point advantage in the opening two minutes of the second half. Pitt stayed consistently ahead of the Demon Deacons for most of the second half. Then Wake Forest Junior Guard Codi Miller-McIntyre and company came alive in the closing five minutes of the game. Pitt held a 60-53 lead only to see it vanish via a 10-1 Wake Forest run.
The closing few minutes of the game consisted of multiple Pitt turnovers and fouls that led to the disappointing final outcome. Looking ahead it’s pretty clear that this loss severely diminishes any hope of receiving a bid in the big dance. Pitt has two games remaining against Miami and Florida State before the ACC Tournament.
In my opinion, short of winning both of those games and making an appearance in the finals of the ACC Tournament, I cannot see a team with this tournament resume making it into the field. Of course winning the conference tournament gives that team an automatic bid, so that’s not even a question. That being said, losses against teams like Wake Forest are just downright sad. We have seen it many times this year where this Panthers team that has so much potential can play with and beat some of the “big boys” in the ACC and then drop games to teams of much lower quality such as Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.
Pitt returns to the Petersen Events Center to face the Miami Hurricanes on March 4th at 8:00 PM ET and then wraps up the regular season on the road at Florida State on March 7th.