Tag Archives: Boston College

Tough Is Being A Pitt Panther Fan This Time of Year!

27 Mar

Come this time every year, the flowers bloom and Pitt Panther b-ball fans see their March Madness turn to Spring Sadness. It’s so regular you could set your watch to it.

In my 20 years plus of following Big East basketball closely, I’ve seen Villanova, Georgetown, Syracuse and Connecticut claim national titles.  I’ve seen St. Johns, Seton Hall, Boston College and Providence make deep runs into the tournament. Notice who’s missing?

Pitt Basketball.  Despite being a better program than you might think, Pitt’s never come close to a Final Four berth.

Think about this, back in the 80s Pitt had future NBA star Charles Smith leading them alongside Jerome Lane.  That talented team won two straight regular season Big East Championships in 86-87 and 87-88.  But despite their regular season accomplishments Charles Smith and crew never got it done when it counted.  Both years, Pitt was eliminated in the second round by basketball powerhouses (sarcasm alert!) Vanderbilt and Oklahoma.  Perhaps this should have been a warning to Knick’s fans who would years later go through the agony of an admittedly hurting Charles Smith struggling to put back a lay up to eliminate the dreaded Bulls.

Since then, Pitt’s been pretty good.  Ben Howland, now at the head of a rejuvenated UCLA team, took Pitt to three Big East Championship games and two Sweet Sixteen appearances in the early 2000’s before bolting for LA.

When Howland’s assistant Jamie Dixon took over the good times kept rolling.  Since 2003-2004, Pitt’s made two more Sweet Sixteen appearances and four Big East Championship game appearances.  Pretty good right?  See I knew you didn’t realize what a great tradition Pitt Basketball has.

Yet, it’s not good enough.  After another early round exit this year, it’s still hard to be a Pitt fan. 

Those folks have got to be asking when’s their turn for that magical ride.  As a Red Sox fan, I could tell them to never get up hope.

 But, if they’re true fans, they know that already.