Pitt can't afford letdown next week against Providence and DePaul

USA TODAY Sports

A quick look ahead on the schedule shows what could be a couple of easy games coming up for Pitt in Providence and DePaul. Just beyond those are what could be the two biggest tests of the season with games against Louisville and Syracuse.

That's a simple recipe for an upset if the Panthers are caught looking ahead. But they're simply not in the position to do that - particularly with earlier losses this year in-conference against Marquette, Rutgers, and Cincinnati. Pitt already has three Big East losses and with plenty of tough tests remaining, the team can't really afford losses to weaker opponents.

A cursory glance at last year's schedule, though, shows that Pitt can be stuck with a bad loss if they're not paying attention. Even looking beyond decent but beatable 20-win teams that knocked off the Panthers at home such as Long Beach State, Wagner, and South Florida, Pitt found a way to lose to perennial basement-dweller DePaul last season.

The good news is that losses such as those can be avoided. If Pitt comes out with the same intensity and focus as they did against UConn, they won't lose. The Panthers need to start out fast and not let up. After building some momentum with wins against Villanova and UConn, a loss against either Providence or DePaul would be borderline catastrophic. Pitt can't afford a letdown against either.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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