The bubble seems to have burst for the Pittsburgh Panthers.
After defeating Syracuse and Boston College in back-to-back weeks, the Panthers started the month of March flat, losing on the road to Wake Forest and at home against Miami.
And it certainly hurts the Panthers (19-12, 8-9). Michael Young led Pitt with 22 points and seven rebounds and Jamel Artis scored 14 but missed a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left that would have tied the game. The Panthers have lost two straight and will likely need to make a deep run in next week’s ACC tournament to have any hopes of going to the NCAAs for the 11th time in coach Jamie Dixon’s 12 seasons.
The seniors went out meekly in their final home game. Cam Wright had 11 points, five assists and three rebounds. Forward Aron Phillips-Nwankwo had two rebounds. Center Derrick Randall made his fifth start of the season, was whistled for a foul 19 seconds into the game and went scoreless in two minutes.
Before their ACC tournament run begins, the Panthers have one final game on the road against the Florida State Seminoles. Florida State (15-15, 7-10) couldn’t beat Pittsburgh the first time around, when the Panthers won by nine at home.
Win or lose, questions about Dixon leading the Panthers beyond this season are starting to ring louder. According to TiqIQ.com, Pittsburgh Panthers tickets for their game at the Donald L. Tucker Center at Tallahassee Leon Country Civic Center have an average price of $26.83 with a walk-in price of $14.
Panthers’ fans are in unusual territory not preparing for a run in the NCAA Tournament. If the Panthers don’t execute an amazing ACC tournament run, they’ll find themselves playing in the NIT, which doesn’t bode well for the fanbase.