Pitt looked as if they had their first ever ACC championship and second ever NCAA tournament appearance in the bag as they headed to the seventh inning up 4-1 on FSU earlier today. Then a three-run walk-off home run by FSU catcher Anna Shelnutt with runners on first and second and two outs in a 4-2 ball game, took an ACC championship and an automatic bid out of the Panthers hands.
This all leaves the question on if Pitt will make the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid?
Well, I have said it all week long the longer Pitt goes, the less help they will need, however, they are going to need some help. Luckily, they went far and in most conferences they have gotten that help they needed as the only conference to hurt them was the American Athletic Conference and there are only three more conference tournaments to be finished.
In these last three tournaments, none of them can hurt Pitt’s chances.
There will be 32 automatic bids and 32 at-large bids announced tomorrow night during the selection show. The only problem is, there is exactly 33 teams that didn’t get automatic bids above or right near Pitt in the RPI. Pitt sits at number 48 in this past weeks released RPI.
Teams that are close that are not locks to make it in over Pitt are these teams below.
|Team (RPI)||Record||Conference Tourney Finish|
|USF (42)||36-20||AAC Runner-Up|
|Notre Dame (43)||32-21||ACC Semifinal|
|Louisville (44)||33-20||ACC Quarterfinal|
|FGCU (33)||38-15||A-Sun Semifinal|
|Wisconsin (46)||28-21||Big 10 Quarterfinal|
|Nebraska (40)||31-23||Big 10 First Round|
|San Jose State (49)||32-16||No Tourney|
|Ole Miss (34)||30-23||SEC First Round|
I think Pitt makes it over five teams in this list. These teams being Notre Dame, Louisville, Wisconsin, Nebraska and San Jose State. Why you may ask?
Pitt was the runner-up in the ACC so it’s pretty easy to say why they make it over the other two ACC teams. Notre Dame failed to make it past the ACC semifinal and Louisville failed to make it past the ACC quarterfinal. On top of that, Pitt has a better record then both as they sit at 33-18-1. So either of these teams making it over Pitt just wouldn’t happen.
So that already shrinks the list to 31 schools ahead of Pitt. Now let me tell you why I will shrink it to 28 schools ahead of Pitt.
Pitt will make it over San Jose State, simply because San Jose State didn’t win their conference and Pitt is in a power five conference and they aren’t. Pitt will make it over Nebraska because they couldn’t even make it out of the Big Ten First Round, while Pitt was a conference runner-up. Same thing goes for Wisconsin, the fact they lost in the Big Ten Quarterfinal is what separates Pitt from them.
I think that FGCU, Ole Miss, and USF all are ahead of Pitt. For Ole Miss it is because they are in the powerhouse SEC and for FGCU and USF they have higher RPI’s and lost very late in their tournaments.
Even with those teams making it in over Pitt there is still only 28 teams in my eyes that are ahead of Pitt and 25 of those are teams that I see as locks ahead of Pitt. Those 25 don’t matter though, because there are still seven slots open that Pitt could take and there are only three programs that I could see getting one of those seven before Pitt.
If Pitt’s name doesn’t get called tomorrow night during the selection show, I would be very surprised. The Panthers deserve to be in the NCAA tournament and I think they will be, but, only time will tell.