It's that time of year again:
Time to guess how Jamie Dixon's Pitt Panthers will perform in the upcoming season. The loss of Ronald Ramon and Keith Benjamin will undoubtedly be a cause for concern, and the fact that the Panthers will be starting possibly up to three sophomores (Blair, Brown, Wannamaker) is another issue that should be taken under consideration.
If Levance Fields can stay healthy, and Sam Young can be consistent shooting the rock, a Final Four run might not be out of the question.
11/17 vs Miami (OH)
Miami has a pretty decent team this year and no matter what sport it may be, Pitt has trouble playing against the Mid American Conference.
Last night, Miami played a National Championship contender in UCLA close to the final buzzer. They lost 64-59.
UCLA and Pitt have very similar styles and if UCLA had trouble with Miami, Pitt could definitely be in for a tough and decieving early season test.
12/17 vs Siena
Siena. Remember them? They were a 13th seed last year in the tourney who beat number four Vanderbilt handily and then played a solid Villanova team close only to fall just short of a Sweet 16 Appearance.
Siena is a great three point shooting team, which is something the Panthers traditionally lack. This game is one that can not be overlooked. (see Dayton, Bucknell)
Ok, enough with the non conference. The Big East schedule is tough too.
1/17 @ #3 Louisville
Well this road test could prove who the Panthers really are this year. To beat Louisville, AT Louisville nonetheless, would be an eye opening win for the rest of the Big East.
It is likely that no one is picking the Panthers to win the Big East this year, but beating Louisville on national television could introduce the country to the Panthers (again).
1/31 vs #9 Notre Dame
Another nationally televised home test for the Panthers: Notre Dame beat Pitt last year, showcasing the talent of Luke Harangody.
If Pitt is to win this game, they need to neutralize the big man. The Petersen Events Center will host many great games this season, so defending ''one of the toughest places to play'' will be a tall order.
2/16 @ #2 UCONN
Potentially the last big road test the Panthers will face this year will come against one of the most highly anticipated teams in the country.
A.J. Price, Hasheem Thabeet and company will play host to the Panthers in what could be a crucial game in determining the Big East Standings.
A win here would put a sock in the mouth of doubters...At least for now.