Tourney hopeful Pitt enters must-win scenario against Clemson

Pitt will aim to improve its NCAA Tournament resume on Tuesday when it travels to face Clemson.Clemson (19-8, 9-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) is coming off back-to-back wins over Georgia Tech and Florida State and is projected by many bracketologists to comfortably make the field of 68 teams in March Madness. The Tigers — 23rd in the NCAA’s NET rankings, 24th in KenPom, 4-3 against Quad 1 teams and 4-3 against Quad 2 teams — are projected by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi to be a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.But Pitt (18-9, 9-7) — despite having a nearly identical record to Clemson — seems to currently be on the outside of the tournament field. Pitt is 47th in the NET, 54th in KenPom, 3-5 against Quad 1 teams and 2-2 against Quad 2 teams. ESPN doesn’t even project the Panthers among the last four teams in the field at the moment. Simply put, the Panthers’ wins aren’t as good of quality as the Tigers’.However, Pitt has a chance to get a coveted Quad 1 win if it beats Clemson on Tuesday. A Quad 1 win is defined as a victory over a team ranked first through 30 if at home, first through 50 at a neutral site or first through 75 on the road. For Pitt — because of Clemson’s current high NET ranking — this would be a potential win that won’t diminish in value. If the Panthers want to boost their chances of making the tournament, this is a game they have to win.”I like where we are right now,” Pitt coach Jeff Capel said. “Just excited about the opportunity to go down and play a really good team … We really have to do a better job defensive rebounding, defending in the post. Our ball-screen defense, our transition defense were really bad the last time we played them.”Clemson beat the Panthers 79-70 in Pittsburgh on Dec. 3.