No, it’s not exactly an NCAA Tournament championship or even an NIT title for that matter, but Pitt has a postseason title under their belts with a 71-65 win over Washington State on Friday night. The Panthers struggled at times, but had command during most of the game.
Pitt took care of the most as well as they have all season. The team had only three turnovers and was a big reason they were able to get to put points on the scoreboard tonight.
Sophomore Lamar Patterson had a good series and was rewarded with the tournament Most Valuable Player award. Patterson had another do-it-all type of game with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and a steal. He’ll be counted on to do quite a bit next season and his development this season was a positive for the Panthers.
Star guard Ashton Gibbs sat out again with an ankle injury. He appeared hobbled at times in the huddles, so he appeared to still be in pain. Washington State was also again missing forward Brock Motum.
As bad as this season was for Pitt, there’s hope for next year. The Panthers were an extremely young team and while that will still be the case to a degree next season, the players will be a year older. The Panthers lose seniors Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson, but will be be gaining two pretty good freshmen, Steven Adams and James Robinson.
Pitt will no doubt continue to take criticism for participating in the CBI tournament. But as I’ve said all along, if they were going to play, it’s better to win while doing so. If you give the Panthers credit for nothing else, give them credit for playing well in the tournament.
For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog Cardiac Hill.