The Pittsburgh Panthers (24-8, 11-7 ACC) wound down the 2013-14 regular season in a position that is rare for Jamie Dixon's teams: on the bubble. But they weren't just underwhelming at times in their first year of ACC play; they were also arguably unfortunate (Tyler Ennis, anyone?).
Fate couldn't have picked a better time to change their luck; a maybe-it-did-maybe-it-didn't buzzer-beating jumper by Josh Newkirk was parlayed into a critical overtime win at Clemson last Saturday.
Then on Wednesday, Wake Forest defeated Notre Dame in the ACC tournament lid-lifter for both teams, helping Pitt avoid one of the worst possible matchups it could have encountered. The Panthers, as they did at The Pete on Jan. 11, manhandled the Demon Deacons Thursday in their ACC tournament debut.
This gives them a chance at revenge against No. 15 North Carolina at 2:00 p.m. ET on Friday on ESPN2 in the ACC quarterfinals at the Greensboro Coliseum. In the midst of a remarkable hot streak, the Heels edged Pitt Feb. 15 in Chapel Hill, but the Panthers should be a loose and confident bunch after improving their NCAA tournament stead.
Here's a look at a few teams Pitt might see soon if it can upset UNC and finally collect its first signature victory as a member of the ACC.