As we've been saying lately, Pitt's 10-0 record, which had its players clamoring to be ranked, was Fool's Gold: Cincinnati knocked them from the ranks of the unbeaten Tuesday night in what some called an ugly game but which Bearcats coach Mick Cronin called "beautiful."
Defensively, he has an argument.
Cincy held Pitt to just 11 shots for the game and to 31.4%.
It's a good thing Pitt got to the line, but the Panthers managed just 19-29 there for 65.5%. It was still a massive advantage though since Cincinnati only got three for the game, making just one.
Pitt's performance from the line so far, 75.6%, would've done it.
Coming off of exams, as so often happens, Wake came out flat before superior talent took over. St. Bonaventure had an 11 point halftime lead but Wake, well, woke up and outscored the Bonnies 27-11 in the game's decisive run.
After the game, according to the Winston-Salem Journal, Codi Miller-McIntyre nailed the difference between this year's Deacs and last year's more passive bunch:
"I think that’s where we grew most as a team. I think last year if we got punched in the mouth, we almost laid down. We would lay down, and the score would just keep going up and up.
"And this year, it’s almost like no matter how much we go down by, we’re going to come back. We’re going to fight back no matter what, no question about it."
The question now is how they respond against much better teams. Like Clemson, though, Wake Forest appears to have gotten its groove back and may now challenge a lot of teams that were out of reach last season.
That increasingly appears to be true for Florida State as well. Aside from losing to Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, FSU has proven to be pretty tough. There's no shame in losing by two to Michigan (in OT) and Florida by one point.
Put another way, there are three points separating Florida State from being 9-1.
Still, we didn't expect Charlotte to lose by 44. And Florida State was in control from beginning to end and in every aspect. One example: FSU outrebounded Charlotte by 15 - in the first half.
And even a traditional bugaboo of Leonard Hamilton's teams, turnovers, was minimized as the Seminoles only coughed it up nine times.
On Wednesday, two intriguing games for Triangle teams as UNC hosts Texas, clocking in currently at a surprising 9-1.
We say surprising because earlier this year it looked as if the wheels were coming off for the Longhorns. The schedule isn't great, but all in all, 9-1 is not that bad, considering the defections and the earlier, open speculation that Rick Barnes was finished in Austin.
Carolina should win, but Rick Barnes has no love for UNC and will do everything in his power to slow the game down and beat the Tar Heels a darker shade of (black and) blue.
And we're guessing State is going to learn a lesson about physical basketball when the Pack visits Knoxville. Cuonzo Martin coaches the way he plays, which means, like Texas, Tennessee is likely to leave you sore in the morning.
So far, the Vols have played Xavier twice (and split), lost to Tim Floyd's UTEP, pounded Wake Forest and gave Wichita State a really good game before losing.
State has a big job ahead.
With the season about to begin in earnest, the teams which seem to be doing well or exceeding expectations, as we see it, are as follows:
Duke, Syracuse, UNC, Wake Forest, Clemson and Florida State.
Jury's out: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Notre Dame, State, Miami and Georgia Tech.
Currently underperforming: Maryland and B.C.
Current Ken Pomeroy ratings:
- Syracuse #6
- UNC # 10
- Pitt # 12
- Duke #20
- Virginia #24
- Florida State #34
- Clemson #37
- Notre Dame #51
- Maryland #55
- Wake Forest #76
- N.C. State # 81
- Georgia Tech # 89
- Virginia Tech # 102
- Boston College #117
- Miami #119
Taking Coach K's prediction of ten tournament teams - something which would be easier with Louisville on board - it's not impossible yet, but the ACC's not there. Syracuse, Duke, UNC, Florida State, Pitt and Notre Dame are still reasonable bets, but beyond that, it's anyone's guess at this point.