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Top five ACC games for Pitt basketball in 2013

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Rob Kinnan-US PRESSWIRE

Pitt's ACC schedule was released a couple of weeks ago. Here are the top five games on the schedule as I see them:

5. Maryland: The Terrapins have been a bit up and down, but they're a program that I've always respected. If they were staying in the ACC, I'd think that Pitt could develop a nice little rivalry with them. But the Panthers at least have two games with them this season and I'll be looking forward to them.

4. Notre Dame: I get it - no one really looks forward to playing the Irish and their offense. That's especially true considering the tough games they've given Pitt over the years. But they always give Pitt a run for their money and many of the contests have been close.

3. Syracuse: Pick either the game at the Pete or the one on the road if you want, but both will be big games for the Panthers. It's nice to see Pitt have some familiar foes in the ACC with the Irish and the Orange, and Syracuse always provides good competition for the Panthers.

2. North Carolina: Playing the Tar Heels on Tobacco Road will be an interesting matchup for the Panthers. It's not only on the road but in an unfamiliar setting since this is Pitt's first season in the ACC. Should be a very difficult game, but one to really look forward to.

1. Duke: This is without a doubt the crown jewel of the home schedule. The last time the two teams met in Madison Square Garden several years ago it was a game that went down to the wire. Pitt may not have a great squad next season and may not be able to win this one. But one thing I'm pretty confident in is that they can compete at home.

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