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Pitt basketball hits rock bottom with 0-18 season in ACC

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The Panthers’ fall from grace is real.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It was only seven years ago that Pitt basketball took a No. 1 seed into the NCAA Tournament. Back then, the Panthers were one of the premier programs in America, with 10 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and consistent finishes at or near the top of the Big East during the height of its powers.

That must feel like it happened in another lifetime to Pitt fans these days. After Notre Dame’s 73-55 win over the Panthers Wednesday night, Pitt completed an 0-18 season in the ACC.

This is the second winless season in the ACC since 1988, joining Boston College’s 0-18 campaign two years ago. You might remember BC also didn’t win a conference football game that year. Look on the bright side, Pitt fans: at least y’all won three ACC football games this season.

Yes, Pitt started four freshmen throughout the year, but it’s hard to find silver linings in Kevin Stallings’ second season. This is how Pitt’s nightmare came to pass.

Pitt by the numbers

This is how bad it’s gotten for Pitt:

Please note that Wofford finished fifth in the Southern Conference, a league ranked as the 21st best in the country by KenPom. There are actually five SoCon teams ranked higher by KenPom right now than the Panthers.

That’s not where the embarrassment ends:

  • Pitt lost its ACC games by an average of more than 19 points per game.
  • The Panthers’ offense finished No. 290 in the country. They were among the worst teams in the country at three-point shooting, offensive rebounding, and free-throw percentage.
  • Pitt wasn’t just bad, they were also impossibly slow. The Panthers ended the year ranked No. 339 in tempo out of 351 D1 teams.
  • With an overall KenPom ranking of No. 235, the type of company Pitt keeps is almost exclusively sub-.500 low-majors:
KenPom

It’s hard to believe how quickly this program hit rock bottom.

Pitt’s jarring fall from grace

Go back to 2011. Top-seeded Pitt lost to Butler on an inexplicable foul in the final second of a second round game. Butler would go on to make the national title game for the second straight season. Pitt has only won one NCAA Tournament game since.

Pitt reached an Elite Eight and two Sweet 16s in Jamie Dixon’s 13-year stay at the school. They were briefly ranked No. 1 in the country back in 2009 with a team led by DeJuan Blair and Sam Young. The Panthers reached the tournament as a No. 10 seed in Dixon’s last year in 2016, but the program was showing signs of slipping. When he left to go back to his alma mater of TCU, the Stallings hire was immediately questioned, partially because his, let’s say, hot-headed temper, partially because Vanderbilt was typically uninspiring during his 17 years as head coach.

Now Pitt is a program wrecked by transfers and with attendance dipping to new lows. Can Stallings really come back from this? Can Pitt?

Like everything else with the program, it’s completely in flux. It’s hard to believe how hard and how fast Pitt has fallen.