Hugley Snubbed of All-ACC Honors as Pitt Heads into ACC Tournament

(Charles LeClaire/USA Today)


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Pitt basketball finished up their regular season on Saturday with a 78-54 loss at Notre Dame, this off the heels of a 30 point defeat at home on Tuesday in Coach K's last road game as Duke's head coach.  Two losses by significant margin to close out the season are pretty fitting for what was an overall lousy season.  While the team showed promise every once in a while, the frequent shooting slumps and turnover problems were too much to overcome against much more talented teams.

With the season now concluded, the ACC announced their all-conference players today and those more talented teams were awarded as such.  While Pitt may not be as talented as the top-tier teams within the conference, I was still surprised to see center John Hugley not named to any of the three all-conference teams.  .  

Hugley had the 16th most points in conference play among all ACC players and had the 12th most points of any ACC player if you consider the entire season, both conference and nonconference.  He also was 17th in conference play and overall in PPG among ACC players.  Hugley finished the season with 219 free throw attempts, good for fourth most in the nation.  This stat speaks to Hugley's power underneath the basket and the difficult task of defending him without fouling.

I know these honors tend to favor players on teams with good records, but I believe that his individual statistics were more deserving of the All-ACC Honorable Mention that he received.  While his play was not always consistent, he was the focal point of this Pitt offense for much of the season.  His ability to get to the free throw line at such a staggering clip was vital in putting points on the board for this often slumping offense.  Unfortunately these awards throughout all sports tend to be popularity contests and Pitt certainly wasn't one of the cool kids in the ACC this year.

However, tomorrow starts a new day for the Panthers in the ACC tournament.  They are able to put the regular season behind them and work with a clean slate.  Win and advance, simple as that.  

While extremely unlikely (I honestly can't stress enough how unlikely it is), if Pitt wins out in the ACC tournament, they would advance to the NCAA Tournament as the ACC's automatic bid.  College basketball analytical guru Ken Pomeroy gives Pitt a 0.2% chance of winning the ACC tournament, so, yeah, I guess there technically is still hope for us Pitt fans.

As the #12 seed, the Panthers kick off the ACC tournament with a matchup against #13 seed Boston College at 2:05 PM tomorrow.  They split the season series against the Eagles, with each team winning on their home court.  

Pitt goes into the game as slight underdogs, but it is basically a toss up.  Boston College was the only team projected to finish worse than Pitt in the ACC at the beginning of the season and I personally believe they give us the best chance of winning at least one game in the tournament.  A win would have them face off against #5 seed Wake Forest at 2:30 PM on Wednesday.  I'd dive into the other potential matchups Pitt would have should they continue to win but no need to get ahead of myself.  As the saying goes, one game at a time... especially with this team.

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