Pittsburgh Panther basketball fans know all too well about the men's team disappointing in tournaments.
Which is why I don't think anyone was shocked or surprised when Pitt lost to UCONN in their first game in the Big East tournament. I still believe Pitt is the better team, but that loss is just one of many that can be determined as disappointing.
This year, Pitt came into the 2010-11 season with a lot of expectations.
In 2009-10, the Panthers lost to Xavier in the second round of the March Madness tournament, and hoped to make it further this season. Like most Pitt teams, the 2010-11 team is about defense, hard work, and depth. Also like most Pitt teams, it doesn't have a future NBA lottery pick that can carry a team single-handedly.
Despite the disappointing loss to UCONN, and losing three of their last six games, the Panthers were rewarded for their great season on selection Sunday.
The Panthers earned the No. 1 seed in the Southeast Region of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. It's the second No. 1 seed in school history, with both occurring in the last three years.
Pitt will play the winner of Tuesday's play-in game between UNC-Asheville and Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Pitt will most likely win their opening game and go on to play the winner of the Old Dominion/Butler game. I don't think Pitt loses to either of them.
How far will Pitt make it in the tournament?
Looking at the entire bracket, I think Pitt got the easiest road to the Final Four. Assuming they get to the Sweet 16, they could play either Kansas State, Wisconsin, Utah State, or Belmont.
Again, Pitt would be favored to beat any of those teams.
The two and three seeds in the Southeast bracket are Florida and BYU. I don't know why, but BYU scares me the most of all the teams in this bracket—as a Pitt fan.
Would Jimmer Fredette go crazy and score 40 plus and lead BYU to the Final Four over Pitt? Would you be that shocked if that happened?
I know I wouldn't.
That being said, I think this is finally the year that Pitt gets to the Final Four. They should be motivated, due to previous NCAA tournament losses—and especially because of the disappointment of the Big East tournament.
As long as Ashton Gibbs doesn't struggle shooting the basketball, and Gary McGhee can stay out of foul trouble, Pitt should finally get to the Final Four.
I also think that if Pitt does get to the Final Four, Head coach Jamie Dixon instantly becomes the best coach in Pittsburgh sports—ahead of Mike Tomlin and Dan Bylsma.
However, if Pitt fails to make it past, say the Sweet 16, Dixon will immediately become the goat, and may even be in the hot seat.