The Pittsburgh Panthers (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 4 AP) can put a check mark on their first goal this season.
Nasir Robinson scored 18 points and Ashton Gibbs added 16 points Wednesday night as the Panthers overcame a slow start and rolled to a 66-50 victory over South Florida, clinching at least a share of the Big East League Title.
Pitt trailed by 3 points at half but pulled away to a double-digit win.
“It’s the toughest conference in the country, and we’re the champs of it. That’s a pretty good accomplishment,” coach Jamie Dixon said.
“It’s a conference that’s going to have 11 NCAA bids, we believe. Nobody has been champion of a conference with 11 NCAA bids,” Dixon added. “It’s a first-time thing. … That puts it in perspective right there. You’ve got to beat a lot of good people, and no one’s had to beat as many good people as we’ve had to in any conference before.”
The Panthers can claim the regular-season crown by beating No. 19 Villanova at home on Saturday, or if Notre Dame loses in it’s finale at Connecticut.
In the win, Jamie Dixon set the Division I record for most wins in a coach’s first eight seasons, collecting his 214th victory.
It’s a great accomplishment for Dixon but for Dixon and the Panthers, this season will be measured on how well Pitt does in the NCAA tournament. Is it Houston or bust for Pitt?