Regardless of how I came to this conclusion, the table is set for the Panthers to take that final step and it should be a leap. Why? It's all about match-ups. The Panthers have gotten into a region where they are the biggest and toughest team inside the paint.
Wisconsin? They have Devin Harris, who is their only true weapon. Oklahoma State? Good guard play and toughness, but our inside game is stronger and bigger. Wake Forest? Don't make me laugh. They disappeared in big games all season. St Joseph's? Well, let's just say the Panthers wouldn't need to take a shot from the outside all game and they'd still beat St. Joe's.
I know Pitt got a raw deal playing in Wisconsin, but if they can win that second round game (and it says here they will), they'll be able to win any game in this tournament. Besides, who says Wisconsin can get past the pesky Richmond Spiders, who are known for their first round upsets (right Syracuse faithful?).
In fact, Pitt doesn't really need the welcomed return of offense from Julius Page until the Final Four, when they'd meet Kentucky. And even then the Wildcats don't have the inside strength to beat the Panthers.
The game that most concerns me at this point is Oklahoma State. Still, I find it hard to believe the Panthers would let an opportunity like this slip by. It would be the first year that they would not be favored to win the Sweet Sixteen match-up and the Panthers always play better when they aren't the favorites.
When watching these next 6 games, the biggest stat to pay attention to is rebounding. If Pitt out-rebounds these opponents, and with their strength and size inside they can do that, they should have very little trouble winning even though a Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson or Ben Gordon may be lighting it up from the outside.