After a promising 10-3 start to the season, things have gone downhill for the Pittsburgh Panthers men’s basketball team, who now must impress in the upcoming ACC tournament if they are to be considered for the almighty NCAA Tournament. For the year, Pittsburgh finished 19-13 overall (8-10 conference record), which was only good enough to have them ranked in the middle of the pack. They’ve also been trending downward recently, having dropped three in a row, thus needing to make a statement this week against its conference foes. Their ACC slate begins on Wednesday with a contest against N.C. State.
As expected, tickets will be at a premium for the ACC tourney, being that this is one of the more storied conferences in all of college basketball. According to TiqIQ, the highest-priced day of the tournament is March 13th, the semifinals of the tournament, with an average ticket price of $259.45 and a walk-in price of $71. This doesn’t include an all sessions pass, which is averaging at $1,137 with a walk-in price of $223. For Pittsburgh, it could instantly seal their March Madness fate if they go one-and-done.
At the same time, the Panthers do have potential to pull off an incredible feat in sparking their résumé to crack the NCAA Tournament. They were led this season mainly by two sophomore forwards, Jamel Artis and Michael Young. Artis led the club in scoring with 13.8 points per game, doing so on very impressive shooting numbers across the board (48 percent from the field, 40.2 percent from three-point range). In addition, he posted nearly 6 rebounds a night. Meanwhile, Young topped all Panthers in boards with 7.3 rebounds, and ranked second on the team with 13.5 points. He also led the club in blocks (26) and field goal percentage (52.3 percent).
Furthermore, Pittsburgh got fine contributions from some of its roleplayers. Junior guard James Robinson was third on the team with 9.1 points and 3.4 rebounds, while senior guard Cameron Wright chipped in 8.8 points and led his teammates with 1.4 steals per game.
Pittsburgh fans can cheer on their basketball team for the final games this season by using Hipmunk.com to book flights to Greensboro. After the Panthers win and play in multiple rounds in the tournament, use Hipmunk to reserve a collection of Greensboro hotels to ride the Panthers’ wave.
If the Panthers do pull off the unlikely, they’ll enter the big dance with a bit of history on their side, as the Pittsburgh program has won at least one tournament game in seven out of their past eight appearances. That includes topping Colorado with ease, 77-48, in the round of 64 last year, before ultimately falling to the No. 1-seed Florida Gators.