Pitt should have no trouble dealing with North Florida before getting a test against Maryland at Madison Square Garden.
The Panthers will take on the North Florida Ospreys on Saturday. North Florida is not expected to give Pitt much difficulty. The Ospreys aren't exactly taking an easy path when it comes to scheduling this season. On the team's schedule? #4 Pitt, #3 Kansas State, #8 Purdue, #15 Missouri, #25 Texas, Maryland, and Florida State.
Oh, and by the way, UNF will enter its game with Pitt as the second game on back-to-back nights, traveling to Florida State on Friday.
The first-year coach, Matt Driscoll, makes the usual points about the tough schedule preparing them for conference play:
"As excited as we were to play our exhibition, we are more excited to get this season underway," said Driscoll. "We believe that playing these early road games versus outstanding competition will prepare us for the A-Sun season. These games should also give us a clear indication of our identity. It is so important early in the season to build that team chemistry and feel for each other on the floor especially with our mixture of returners, freshmen, transfers and players who were away from competition last year. This opening weekend has become an interesting first trip with possibly the fastest turn around in NCAA regular season history. Our character will get an early test which will only help us down the road."
That's all true, but man. For a team that's only won ten games one time in the school's history as a D-I team, this seems like a particularly brutal schedule. Five ranked teams and three top ten schools? Yeah, good luck with that.
In all fairness, though, UNF is still really in the process of making the jump to D-I. They are still within the first ten years of being a D-I basketball program and, like at other schools, it's been a struggle. The team just had it's first double-digit win season last year when they went 13-18. In the four seasons before that, the team combined for only 20 wins. It still is seeking its first big win - the school's best victory was probably beating NCAA tournament team Belmont last season.
The Ospreys don't have a player taller than 6'7" and will probably have trouble with Pitt's frontcourt of Gary McGhee, Talib Zanna, and Dante Taylor. This season, it seems like we haven't seen a lot of feeding the post players. But with such a huge size advantage, we should see plenty of that in this game.
And I don't know if I've ever seen this before, but North Florida did not have a single scorer reach ten points per game last season.
Hard to get excited about this game, but it will be interesting to see who gets playing time tomorrow with the Maryland game coming up next week.