The University of Pittsburgh, and the entire ACC, released the 2014 basketball schedule today. Pitt's schedule has somewhat been widely known for a while now. Pitt released the non-conference portion of the schedule early last month, and the ACC opponents have been known since April just the dates and times have been a mystery. Today finalized everything on when the games will be played, and what channel they will be played. Here is a breakdown of the entire schedule
-- Pitt plays 32 games total.
-- Pitt will play two exhibition games (IUP October 31, Philadelphia University November 7)
-- 17 home games, 11 away games, 4 neutral games.
-- 18 ACC games. 14 non-conference games
-- Six games televised by ESPN or ESPN2
-- Four games on ESPNU
-- One game on CBS
As of right now, the TV portion of the schedule still seems to be in the works. Pitt has multiple games that will be played on the ACC Network or Root Sports. I would imagine locally the games will be picked up on WTAE on occasion, and many will be on ESPN's online service ESPN3.com. Pitt will be featured twice on ESPN's prime time Monday series, "Big Monday" although both games fall on the road against Duke (1/19) and Virginia (2/16). Pitt will be featured on the network three consecutive days in November for the Maui Invitational, and again as a part of the ACC/Big Ten challenge against Indiana on December 2.
The ACC schedule and the television status for some key games is rather disappointing. Pitt's marquee home game is against North Carolina and the game will be on Saturday February 14, and is set for a noon tip on the ACC Network. Hopefully ESPN or CBS has room to make a switch there, as it could be a big game. Two of Pitt's biggest road games with Louisville (Wednesday 2/11 8:00) and Syracuse (Saturday 2/21 12:00) both fall on the ACCN, and not on national television. Pitt will host both teams on national TV though, Louisville (Sunday 1/25 1:30) on CBS and Syracuse (Saturday 2/7 4:00) on ESPN.
As for the schedule itself, Pitt will be playing six consecutive games away from "The Pete" during the non-conference schedule, something that has definitely never happened. Almost a month will elapse between home games, November 16 to December 13. Pitt takes on Hawaii, the three Maui games, Indiana, and a game away from campus but in Pittsburgh against Duquesne before returning home. Like last year, the ACC slate will begin on the road at NC State for a Saturday noon tip. Pitt will have a tough week when they travel to Duke for Big Monday and host Louisville on national TV that Sunday. Pitt manages to sneak a non-conference date with Bryant to break up the ACC schedule on February 2. After that game, Pitt has a brutal five game stretch with Syracuse, at Louisville, North Carolina, at Virginia, and at Syracuse all in a row.
Pitt has been attacked for their weak schedules in the past but playing away from your home gym for almost a month with potential games against Arizona and San Diego State, and a scheduled date with Indiana in Assembly Hall is not an easy task. Pair that with the ACC being stronger than last year, and that brutal late season five game death trap, nobody should be able to say anything about Pitt's schedule this season.