Panthers in the hunt for No. 1 Seed

With about a month to go before the NCAA tournament, the Pittsburgh Panthers remain in good position to gain a No. 1 seed in the tournament field.<br><br> The Panthers still have to take care of some business - with the final five games of the regular season and the Big East Conference tournament.

If the Panthers can run the table, they are almost a lock for a No. 1 seed.

Coming into this week's action, many pundits had the Panthers as a number two seed. The two unbeaten teams, No. 1 Stanford and No. 2 Saint Joseph's, are projected as No. 1 seeds if they win out.

Saint Joseph's has an excellent chance to win out and finish undefeated. Stanford meanwhile has been running through the raindrops of late.

The Cardinals rallied from a 13-point first half deficit to beat Southern California 76-67 Thursday night for their school-record 22nd consecutive victory.

Stanford (13-0) clinched a share of its fourth Pac-10 title in six years with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

But the threats to perfection have been coming more frequently.

The Cardinals rallied from 19 points down and won at Oregon on Jan. 31, then Nick Robinson hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to hold off Arizona on Feb. 7.

Duke and Mississippi State were thought by many to be in position to gain the other two No. 1 seeds, but Duke was knocked off by Wake Forest on Wednesday and still has a tough road through the rest of the regular season and the ACC tournament.

Mississippi State still will have to run the gauntlet and show that they can win three games in three days in the SEC tournament.

It's all speculation at this point, but Pittsburgh is right in the mix and appears to hold a good hand coming down the stretch.

"We're good enough to be a No. 1 seed," Pitt senior guard Julius Page said. "For us not to have it, I wouldn't say would be a failure, but we know we can be a No. 1 seed, so why not be it? We needed the win over UConn in order to get things going back on the right track. We needed it and we got it."

The No. 1 seed is important. No. 1 seeds have won seven of the past 10 NCAA championships. It's not a must - Syracuse won last year's championship as a No. 3 seed. But in four of the past five seasons, at least two No. 1 seeds have advanced to the Final Four.

The Panthers have it there for the taking - they just have to keep doing what they have done all season - win.

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