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2015-16 Pitt basketball schedule released

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Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt released its 2015-16 men's basketball schedule on Wednesday. And - here it is.

The bigger non-conference games against Gonzaga, Purdue, and Davidson were already known. With those three, and 2015 NCAA Tournament team Eastern Washington, the Panthers will get some good tests to start the season. There isn't an absolute blockbuster in that group, but they are games that should in the team's fight for a decent RPI.

In conference play, Pitt opens with (as we also knew) Syracuse on December 30th. That will be a prime time game at 9:00 p.m. and is an incredible way to kick off ACC play. In addition to the Orange, the Panthers will also face heavyweights Duke and Louisville at the Pete late in the season. The final game of the regular season will be against Georgia Tech on the road on March 5th.

Pitt will only have one preseason game this year when there are usually two (they will face Gannon on November 6th). I'm guessing the team's game against Gonzaga in Japan a week later had something to do with that.

If you're looking for the toughest stretch in the schedule, to me it looks to be a three-game run against Syracuse, Louisville, and Duke over eight days in late February. Pitt does get those latter two games at home, but none of those will be easy. Adding to that a bit, the Panthers will then go on the road for their final two games against Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Road conference games are often difficult - particularly at the end with teams needing to make runs to get into the NCAA Tournament. That's a really tough five-game stretch for Pitt to close the season and that puts the team at a disadvantage.

That five-game stretch will make things extremely interesting when it comes to postseason talk.

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