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We all knew Pitt's non-conference basketball schedule wasn't a great one. It appears the rest of the world does, too. ESPN says the Panthers' non-con slate is one of the ten worst in the nation:
It's hard to fault Jamie Dixon for his scheduling philosophy. As SI.com's Luke Winn wrote last month, Dixon is the nation's best RPI exploiter; he slips in every crevice of the NCAA's crude metric, all while rarely putting his team at risk. And with due praise out of the way, sorry, but this schedule is really ugly. Pitt is likely to play Michigan and either Virginia or Kansas State in the NIT Season Tip-Off, but even if those games were guaranteed they're not enough to keep the Panthers off this list. Besides, sure, Pitt was bad last year, but let's not forget that this is still Pitt, one of the most comprehensively consistent programs of the past decade. Their scheduling sights should be set much higher.
Pitt's non-conference schedule is, admittedly, very ugly. But to be honest, it doesn't bother me all that much.
Unlike football, the Big East's basketball conference is incredibly strong. In the words of CM Punk, it's the 'Best in the World.' So when Pitt takes a bit of a breather in the non-con portion, it's hard to be too upset. Plus, they'll face some decent teams in the preseason NIT.
Could it be stronger? Of course. Would I prefer to see another quality team or two in there? Absolutely. But when it's all said and done, with a lot of new parts this year (i.e. Steven Adams, Trey Zeigler, and James Robinson, most notably), playing some weaker teams up front to develop a bit of chemistry probably isn't the worst thing in the world. And after last season's nightmare, getting some wins under their belt might not be a bad little confidence booster.