So as you know the Big East released the men's basketball schedule on Wednesday. Here are some general thoughts about the schedule.
- The Panthers start out with a tough opponent right out of the gate when they travel to South Bend to face the Irish, who have beaten Pitt three straight times.
- The Big East once again scheduled a key conference game during Winter Break when the Bearcats travel to Pittsburgh on New Year's Day. Last season, the Panthers beat eventual national champion UConn a few days after Christmas.
- Hope you like Sunday games, because the Panthers have four conference games on Sunday with three at home. Unless the Steelers make the Super Bowl, only one of those will fall on a football weekend, the game against Cincinnati.
- Pitt has no Big Monday home appearances, but must go to Syracuse and to West Virginia for two such games
- There are three three-game stretches that will define how well the Panthers do in conference play: Stretch #1: January 14th: @ Marquette, January 16th: @ Syracuse, January 21st: vs. Louisville. Stretch #2: January 28th: vs. Georgetown, January 30th: @ West Virginia, February 5th: vs. Villanova. Stretch #3: February 26th: @ Louisville, February 29th: vs. St. John's, March 3rd: @ Connecticut
- I've broken the conference schedule into likely wins, toss-ups, and likely losses. WINS: vs. Cincinnati, @ Depaul, vs. Rutgers, Providence, @ USF, @ Seton Hall, vs. USF, vs. St. John's. TOSS-UPS: @ Marquette, @ Syracuse, vs. Louisville, vs. Georgetown, @ West Virginia, vs. Villanova, vs. West Virginia. LOSSES: @ Notre Dame, @ Louisville, @ Connecticut
- If Pitt wins all the definites, splits the toss-ups, and can take one of the "losses," that places the Panthers at 14-4 and likely gives them another double-bye in the Big East tournament (and an early loss in the Big East tournament...again)