A Change In Culture

Pitt Men’s Basketball is relevant again, and March Madness will shine a much-deserved spotlight on their talent.


Pitt Athletics

Senior Guard Nike Sabande has been very helpful to the team this year, averaging 7.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists.

Manas Kathir, Sports Editor

When it comes to basketball, Pittsburgh is not exactly looked at as the ideal city. The NBA does not provide the city of Pittsburgh with a basketball team to root for.

Most Pittsburgh basketball fans shift their attention to the University of Pittsburgh basketball team. But over the past years, it has been rough to watch as the men’s team has struggled to be relevant and make a name for themselves.

However, this year has proven to be completely different, and the University of Pittsburgh fans’ energy has quickly shifted from negative to positive. There seems to be a great culture being established as the team is sitting at 21-9, defeating some big-name colleges like the University of Miami and University of Virginia. The team has qualified for a spot in March Madness and is ranked in AP’S Top 25 poll for the first time since 2016. Led by Coach Jeff Capel III, the team has united on both ends of the floor, and Capel’s ability to coach has received extreme praise from all around the college basketball universe. 

A lot of us who follow the team are hoping that the voting goes right and he is proudly named ACC Coach of the Year.  There is a different type of energy that Capel provides compared to the past coaches, and it has instilled belief inside the hearts of the players when they step out on the floor. 

Junior forward Blake Hinson has had a tremendous season, averaging 15.8 points along with 6.2 boards per game. At the guard position, senior Jamarius Barton has been excellent, going for 15.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. When it comes to assists and making every player on the team better, no player has been more helpful than senior guard Nelly Cummings. Averaging five assists per game, he has received a lot of compliments for his ability to push the pace of the basketball and find the easy way to put up two or three points. On the defensive side, sophomore center Federiko Federiko has set the tone with 1.9 blocks per game, making sure opposing players do not get offensive rebounds or score easily. 

The Panthers have two more games left in the regular season before they will head into the March Madness Tournament. They can use these two games as confidence boosters going into the tournament as both matchups should be easy wins. 

With the Panthers locked as the 25th seed, they will most likely take on a pretty high-seeded team in the first round, so they are going to have to make sure to be ready to attack on both ends of the floor. 

I am confident that with Coach Capella’s energy and the team’s efficient scoring and defensive ability, they will be able to give themselves a chance regardless of who they play in the tournament. 

The only question is how far they can go.