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Panthers Off To 15-1 Start, But How Good Are They?

Pitt's basketball team was expected to be good and they haven't disappointed. The team is off to a 15-1 start and playing well in almost every phase of the game.

The Panthers have also played some quality opponents and have some good wins under their belts. Playing in Madison Square Garden, the team defeated both Maryland and a Texas team that was ranked No. 12 this week. Pitt also beat a top-ten team in UConn and has won games against Marquette and Providence, both of which have 11 wins already.

We know that Pitt is good. But the question is, how good?

Well, it's a bit difficult to tell. Despite the quality wins, Pitt is still virtually untested on the road. The Madison Square Garden games weren't really road games, since the Panthers had plenty of fans there. Also, the team is used to playing in the Garden from the Big East Tournament. If anything, those games are more like home contests.

In the team's lone true road contest this season at Providence, the Panthers were taken down to the wire, even trailing in the final minute, before making plays down the stretch to win. A 15-1 start is nice, but Big East road games are a different animal than playing games at home.

Further, the Panthers have been one of the nation's best shooting teams this season, hitting just under 50% of their shots, good for 12th overall. We're not accustomed to seeing Pitt shoot this well - especially from the outside - and it will be interesting to see if they can keep that up throughout the season.

This isn't to say that Pitt isn't very good and at this point in the season. The Panthers deserve to be ranked where they are. But it can't definitively be said that this team is one of the best in the nation. We'll all know a bit more when Pitt plays road games at Georgetown, Villanova, West Virginia, and Louisville.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.