Jan 4, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Pittsburgh guard/forward Lamar Patterson (21) goes to the basket against North Carolina State guard Desmond Lee (5) during the second half at PNC Arena. Pittsburgh beat North Carolina State 74-62. Mandatory Credit: Ellen Ozier-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt Basketball: Panthers Crack Associated Press, USA Today Coaches' Top 25 Rankings

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For some reason it took them quite a while, but Jamie Dixon’s Pitt men’s basketball team has finally cracked the national Top 25 rankings.

In the latest Associated Press poll, the 15-1 Panthers come in at No. 22, while they were one spot higher in USA Today’s weekly coaches’ rankings.

Jan 11, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon (left) reacts on the sidelines against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. Pittsburgh won 80-65. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

That alone is a bit shocking for a Pitt team that has started 3-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. It’s tough to imagine if the Panthers were still in the Big East that they would have gone this long without being ranked, but that’s something that Dixon doesn’t pay much attention to.

“We are young came into the season with five new players,” Dixon said after Pitt’s home win against Wake Forest on Saturday. “Typically those aren’t the type of teams that garner a lot of attention nationally.”

The ACC in general is a bit down as they only have three teams ranked in this week’s Top 25.

Coincidentally, the conference’s highest ranked teams in the AP poll are former Big East schools in Syracuse (No. 2) and Pitt. After a couple losses on the week, Duke has fallen all the way down to No. 23.

Led by former Panthers’ point guard Sean Miller, Arizona holds onto the top spot in both polls once again. Syracuse, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Wichita State, Villanova and Florida are the top seven according to the AP and USA Today.

Pitt will resume play Tuesday night at Georgia Tech before heading to Syracuse on Saturday for what will be the ACC’s biggest game of the season so far.


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