This past week, we saw the Men’s basketball team hung tough with 25th ranked Miami. It was Another game in which they were actually leading. They would follow up with 20 minutes of good basketball against North Carolina. It was the second 20 minutes that disappointed the coach as they were absolutely blown away. It was that performance that the coach called out this past week.
As the team comes down the stretch of the season, they are still looking for a win in conference play. The Panthers are also looking to give the fan base something positive to take away from this season.
At the beginning, It was easy to look at this team and how they were constructed and see it was going to be difficult. Then with the key injury to their best returning player and the leader of the team, it was literally a no win situation for the coaching staff and team. The youth has been forced to grow up quickly, and although they have lost every game we have seen growth. We have seen some really good players step forward, but to this point it has not been enough to capture a win.
Marcus Carr has been playing extremely well. Especially when you consider he has no one behind him that can spell him and give the Panthers quality minutes. Jonathan Milligan has been a disappointment for sure and a glaring indictment of the previous regime’s recruiting woes. Coach Stallings does have relief on the way, but it will not come until next season.
At Center/forward, Terrill Brown has played strong as the season has gone on, and will prove to be good underneath as his body matures and he becomes more confident. Kham Davis has turned into a solid 6th man for the Panthers and strong from behind the arc. But not nearly as strong as Parker Stewart.
Pitt’s Parker Stewart has not only become the biggest 3 point scoring threats on this team, but also one of the most feared in the ACC. The issue with him is the Panther’s inability to get him free to shoot at times. That will come with time and with the additions coming next season. It is fair to expect him to take another giant leap forward.
Those are just a few of the really good players the coach has brought in and developed.
With that said, as the season draws closer to the end, the Panthers will have only a couple more real opportunities to get a win or two in conference play.
The Panthers play Clemson on the road Thursday, while they come home to host Louisville Sunday. Both will be difficult tests and probably not produce a win. That would be followed by a Home game with Boston College and a week later, another home game with Wake Forest. Sandwiched in between is a game with Florida State on the road. The Panthers will get a home game against top 5 ranked Virginia and finally will end the season on the road to against Notre Dame.
The ACC is a gauntlet, and if you don’t have enough experience and talent, it is absolutely brutal. Although there is talent on this team, experienced talent there is not. And the depth of the talent gets tested night in and night out. I believe they will find a way to win a game down the stretch, what night or game that will be is anyone’s guess.
What could also hinder that is the increased chatter about Coach Stallings not being here after this season. Although we have not heard that from the administration, it is clear they are not pleased with the results from the season. As much as it would be a mistake(in my opinion) to not give Kevin another year to develop his kids, the angst in the fanbase and lack of support is glaring enough to force a bad decision by AD Heather Lyke.
Pitt faces off against Clemson on Thursday and it will be aired on ESPN.com and on the radio with the game starting at 7pm. Pregame will start at 6:30pm. Our own Pitt Panthers Weekly, presented by The Arsenal Cider House will take place on Friday.