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The Week Ahead: Looking to stay hot

Pitt looks to continue their hot start with two home games

Jamie Dixon's focus will be tested this week
Jamie Dixon's focus will be tested this week
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

One look at this week's schedule and you may think that Pitt is heading to a 9-0 start rather easily. Dig a little deeper though and you can see that the Panthers will have to take things seriously to achieve two wins. Pitt stands at 7-0 and have done so in impressive fashion, especially after this past week's three wins. This week, Pitt gets to stay at home after traveling to Brooklyn and that long and hard trip to the Consol Center on Saturday.

On Tuesday night, Pitt will welcome rival Penn State to the Petersen Events Center at 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU). Traditionally, Penn State hasn't been much of a threat to the Panthers, but ever since an early season loss to Bucknell, the Nittany Lions have won five out of their last six. Their lone loss came to an undefeated Ole Miss team by three points. The Lions seem to be improving, so despite the Panthers' edge in talent, they must come to play. After that, Pitt will stay at home on Friday at 7 p.m. against the Loyola Marymount Lions. Loyola is 5-2 with losses to Northern Iowa and Vanderbilt. The Lions love to score points, so the Panthers will have to ramp up the defense on Friday night.

With the Panthers sitting at 7-0 you have to wonder what they think of their upcoming schedule. With college kids, one of the hardest parts is keeping them focused with every game and this week will be no different. Pitt has a mix of veterans and unproven players in their rotation, so Jamie Dixon will have his work cut out for him in keeping them ready this week. Their hot start of 20+ point wins is probably not helping the young Panthers stay grounded, but they have experience where it counts in guards and at the top with Dixon. Can they keep their focus and not just look at a name and expect a win? They will have to this week as the teams are better than the names indicate.

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