Pitt played a tough game in a 67-64 loss to Notre Dame in Tuesday’s opening round of the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn.
It was an admirable showing, forcing a superior Notre Dame team fighting to get into the NCAA Tournament team to play until the end.
But it wasn’t enough. As it wasn’t enough the other 18 times Pitt suited up for a conference game this season. The loss capped an 8-24 season in Pittsburgh that ended with 19 consecutive losses that added up to an 0-19 showing in ACC play.
It was a remarkably bad season for a power conference team. In fact, the Panthers were the only team in all of college basketball this season to fail to notch a win against a conference opponent.
Not that amateur athletes competing for no pay should ever be on the receiving end of too much criticism. But if there was ever a basketball season worthy of scorn, this one was it.
And scorn Pitt got from the New York Post.
But instead of ridicule, Panthers players found themselves on the receiving end of praise and optimism from the most passionate of their fan base, the Pitt student section, aka The Oakland Zoo.
What’s that? Using social media to be uplifting when somebody else is down? How refreshing.
The gesture did not go unnoticed among Pitt’s players.
Freshman guard Khameron Davis:
Yo im really lovin the zoo right now https://t.co/1lcnd4ZxI8
— Khameron Davis (@kidder900) March 6, 2018
Freshman guard Marcus Carr:
It’s nice to see that fans and players alike can smile together after a season-long struggle like this one. It definitely goes against the norm of sometimes toxic player-fan relationships that play out on social media when things don’t go well.
It also helps that whoever’s running the Zoo’s twitter account has an appreciation for advanced metrics and a sense of humor.
Despite actually winning 2 conferences games (live with the shame Oregon St. & Stanford) Cal managed to finish behind Pitt in the KenPom rankings as worst P5 team. pic.twitter.com/4MP6lDjT3z
— Chas Rich (@ChasRich27) March 4, 2018