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On many teams, when starters come out of the game, the team's skill level dramatically decreases and casual fans are able to tell who the bench players are right away. They're on the bench for a reason: Those players are not as good as the starters (at least in most situations).
Against Syracuse, while I knew who the starters and bench players were, there was no drop off when starters like Gibbs or Wanamaker were replaced. There was no hesitance on offense or lack of communication on defense. While guys like Travon Woodall, Dante Taylor, Talib Zanna and Lamar Patterson aren't as good as the starters, it isn't by much.
So, why is their depth the biggest reason? I've found that in the NCAA tournament foul trouble becomes magnified especially when the star player gets two quick fouls early in the game. It usually changes everything as one team is forced to rely on secondary players to fill in, especially with the scoring load, while the other team is desperate to take advantage of a huge threat now sitting on the bench for the foreseeable future.
For Pittsburgh, I don't see that problem happening. Let's say Gibbs gets in foul trouble. While Woodall isn't on Gibbs' level, he showed me against Syracuse that he's able to fill in seamlessly. The only adjustment that is made is there won't be as much outside shooting and Wanamaker becomes the first option (which he usually is when the shot clock winds down anyways).
Because of their depth, any player could get into foul trouble or get hurt, and the Panthers will not be at as big of a disadvantage as almost every other team would (Duke with Nolan Smith and Ohio State with Jared Sullinger would be in major trouble if either player is on the bench for extended periods of time).
Some will say that the Panthers lack major star power or someone who can immediately take over a game, which is absolutely true. However, I would rather have nine very good players than two great players and seven other guys who are decent. We'll find out in a couple months whether or not I'm right.