Hit the Road, Jack: Panthers will be tested by upcoming road games

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

For the most part this season, Pitt hasn't faced hostile crowds. But when you play 15 of your 16 games at home or on neutral courts, that kind of stuff tends to happen.

So far, the Panthers have played only a single road game - when they defeated North Carolina State a couple of weekends ago. But that's all about to change, starting tonight.

Three of Pitt's next four games will be away from home and we're about to find out just what the team is made of. The Panthers start off with the game against Georgia Tech tonight then face No. 2 Syracuse over the weekend. After a home game against Clemson, Pitt is back on the road against Maryland.

There are obviously questions about just how good Georgia Tech, Maryland, and Clemson are, but each of those first two games could be true tests. And even though the Clemson game is at home, they're 11-4 and fresh off a win against Duke. Each game really presents some challenges for Pitt.

In addition, don't forget the Panthers are also playing without Durand Johnson, who's out for the season. Not only is Pitt trying to adjust to losing their sixth man, they'll be doing it with the majority of their upcoming games away from home. Couldn't really come at a worse time when you consider at the team was also playing some really good basketball.

Realistically, it'd be nice to see the Panthers get three out of four there, but 2-2 may be more likely. Syracuse will be an uphill battle and it's more than reasonable to think that Pitt could lose one of the other three games. To me, 3-1 is the ideal situation and if the Panthers do that, 'mission accomplished' in my book.

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

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