Another year, another case of the Pitt Panthers laying an egg in the NCAA Tournament. This time it was at the hands of ninth-seeded Wichita State, which steamrolled the eighth-seeded Panthers in a 73-55 upset.
This loss was particularly deflating because Pitt was a sexy underdog pick with the potential to knock out top-seeded Gonzaga (which Wichita State did on Saturday). You win some you lose some, right?
That is not good enough when your program is a Big East power with high expectations based on a winning tradition. Pitt has a nasty habit of making the Big Dance and then, no matter where it finishes, disappointing everyone. So the question is: Who is to blame for this perennial underachieving? One possible answer is Coach Jamie Dixon.
Dixon has been the head coach of the Panthers for 10 seasons and has built a consistent winner. But with progress comes expectations, and it is beginning to look like Dixon has hit a wall at Pitt. Panther message boards have been calling for Dixon’s head after every tournament loss for years now, anyway.
On Saturday, Dixon signed a 10-year contract extension that will keep him at Pitt until 2023. That might not have been the best thing for either the school or Dixon. This latest tournament embarrassment should have been enough for the higher-ups to reevaluate their commitment to keeping Dixon as Pitt’s head coach.