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Pitt basketball's non-conference season still presents obstacles

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

To date, the Panthers have played a difficult non-conference basketball schedule. After an underrated game against Hawaii on the road, Pitt went on to face both No. 15 San Diego State and Kansas State in the Maui Invitational. Following that, the team traveled to Indiana in a difficult road matchup.

The result of those contests was a disappointing 1-3 record, but despite what some fans think, Pitt isn't yet out of the woods of its non-conference schedule.

Next up for the Panthers is a game against 6-1 St. Bonaventure on Saturday. The Bonnies' lone loss was a narrow three-point defeat to Siena and St. Bonaventure has won their games by an average margin of more than 11 points per game. There's also Holy Cross, who is 4-3 and owns a season-opening win over then No. 25 Harvard. The final non-conference game may be the most difficult one left - a tilt against Florida Gulf Coast, which owns an 8-1 record and a victory over UMass in their last game.

Also sandwiched in between those contests, the Panthers will face Manhattan and Oakland. Both teams have losing records, but are capable of providing some trouble, too. Manhattan is only 2-5, but has had some tough defeats to UMass (in overtime) and George Mason (on a last-second shot). Oakland is a modest 4-5, but has won three in a row. Furthermore, Oakland will be battle-tested for their game against the Panthers, facing Michigan State and Arizona in back-to-back games immediately before the Pitt contest.

Things might get a little easier compared to the teams Pitt has faced so far, but the remainder of the non-conference schedule is anything but a cakewalk.

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