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Pitt basketball has chance to finish strong with manageable schedule

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

We've spent a lot of time discussing Pitt's recent grueling stretch against Louisville, North Carolina, and Virginia. While the Panthers can't exactly sit back and take it easy over their final five games, things are at least easier from here on out.

Pitt begins with a game this weekend against Syracuse, which doesn't figure to be easy. The Orange will want some revenge for the Panthers' win in Oakland but the Panthers played well against them at home. It's a difficult game and possibly the hardest one left. But it still represents a step down from the likes of the three teams Pitt just faced. It's also worth pointing out that Pitt should be fairly rested having four days off prior to the game.

After that, Pitt takes on a couple of the weaker teams in the conference in Boston College and Wake Forest. The Panthers had some trouble with the Eagles this year but get this game at home. And while the Demon Deacons haven't been a doormat (nearly beating Virginia this past weekend and knocking off Miami in the previous game), they're still only 12-14 on the year and are beatable.

Pitt then gets Miami, who could be the best team left on the schedule. But the Panthers are getting a team that has really struggled lately, losing their fair share of games recently to teams like Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest. The fact that Pitt gets the game in their home finale is another reason to like their chances.

Rounding out the regular season is a game against Florida State. No conference road game is ever easy, but the Panthers will play the Seminoles knowing they have a lot on the line in trying to get to the NCAA Tournament. It's also a team Pitt beat near the beginning of the conference season when the team wasn't playing very well. We don't know where things will stand in a few games but right now, this improved version of the team makes them a solid favorite.

As we saw against the Virginia Tech game, there are no guarantees. And adding to that are things like the way the team played against Bryant after knocking off Notre Dame - the team simply can't stand to take it easy. But it's hard to not like Pitt's chances to add several more wins to their resume down the stretch strictly based on the level of opponents remaining.

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