(At least I hope so.)
Like most people, every now and then I dream of work. And it is miserable and soul-sapping for the next day. Last night I managed to combine the work dream with that replays of that game. I’ve locked up all the knives in the house.
The number that reflects the ugliness is the way that killed the adjusted tempo. Coming into the game, per KenPom.com, Pitt’s AdjT was at 66.3 while Cinci was at 66.7. Nationally that was 271st and 255th respectively. That one game of misery dropped both teams’ averages by 1.7 to 64.6 and 65.0. One game (admittedly over only 11 games) did that.
There’s no way to pretend it didn’t happen. I want to, but too many are going to treat this like some indictment of Pitt’s schedule. Or as evidence Pitt is not that good. That may all be true, but that game is not the proof. That game was a complete outlier. A freak game. They happen. They happen to really good teams at strange times.
One of the great examples involves the #6 ranked team at the time in 2008. Michigan State was 14-1 in the second week of January. They had played their usual challenging non-con. Wins over ranked teams like BYU (#20), Texas (#4), NC St. (#24). Battle-tested. Ready for the B1G. They head to Iowa City to face a 7-9 Iowa team that was already 0-3 in the Big 10.
They don’t just lose. They lose the game 43-36. They didn’t have a slew of injuries. They weren’t resting players. Until that game, their lowest offensive output was 63 points. It was just something that happened.
Iowa would finish with a 13-19 record. MSU was a #5 seed in the NCAA Tournament and beating Pitt in the second round (dammit) before losing to Memphis in the Sweet 16.
Lots went wrong in that game. Lots needs to be improved. Try to stay calm. But if you can’t, remember to cut with the vein, not across it.