Pitt likely to jump to No. 1 spot

By Mike Gladysz

When DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright walked into the press conference following his team’s matchup… When DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright walked into the press conference following his team’s matchup with Pitt on Saturday, his frustrations seemed even bigger than Pitt’s 19-point win. It’s understandable, though, as Wainwright and DePaul have yet to earn a Big East win and are in the worst slump in program history. Playing Pitt isn’t the kind of thing that helps those frustrations. ‘We won the opportunity to play Pitt twice,’ he said. ‘It’s like two straight meals that my wife cooks. It looks good in the beginning, but in the end it’s difficult swallowing.’ The news after the win is much easier for the Panthers to swallow. That’s because No. 4 Pitt, which beat top-ranked Connecticut on Monday night before putting together a pounding of DePaul, will likely jump into the nation’s No. 1 spot this afternoon when the polls are released. The Panthers held the No. 1 spot for two weeks earlier this season. Pitt was primed to jump to the No. 3 spot after its win against Connecticut, but a loss from No. 1 North Carolina to unranked Maryland Saturday night, followed by No. 2 Oklahoma losing to Texas, should be enough to hoist the Panthers to No. 1 in both national polls. The Panthers (25-2, 12-2 Big East) have now won a conference-best seven straight games and, with a strong showing down the stretch, are in prime position for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers have remaining road-games with Providence and Seton Hall before finishing out the regular season at home against Marquette and Connecticut. ‘ ‘Pitt’s going to be a hard matchup for a lot of teams,’ said Wainwright. ‘They’re going to be very good come tournament time, and they have a really good chance to go as far as anybody in the country.’