For as long as I can remember, I’ve been rooting for University of Pittsburgh sports teams. My dad, grandmother, grandfather and scattered other relatives all attended Pitt and so it’s been natural for me to root for them, sometimes even ahead of my own alma-maters. So it’s particularly exciting for me that today, Pitt Basketball has attained the #1 ranking in college basketball for the first time in the school’s history. The team has attained the #2 ranking on at least three occasions, one of which came in 1986 before a mid-season game against Georgetown, a game in which I got to be ball-boy for the Pitt team, which included Charles Smith, Jerome Lane and Sean Miller. Sadly, as Pitt teams have done on a number of occasions, they lost that game in embarrassing fashion to a much better Georgetown squad. Recent Pitt teams during the Jamie Dixon era have been different though and last year, they rebounded from several devastating injuries and a sluggish regular season finish to win the Big East Tournament. They haven’t made a serious run in the NCAA Tournament yet, but this could be the year. Most of their starters are back and the team seems to be gelling.
At the beginning of last season, I had the opportunity to attend the Duke vs Pitt game at MSG, a dream of sorts. My alma-mater versus my family school. Interestingly enough, I found myself pulling for Pitt down the stretch, and when Levance Fields hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, I was thrilled. This year, I’ll get to see a few more Pitt games and the Big East Tournament looks like it may be one of the best ever, given the dominance of this year’s league. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Pitt may finally have all the ingredients to make a real run at a Final Four and National Championship.