On Monday, the Pitt men’s basketball team released its non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2018-19 season, which will be Jeff Capel’s first as the head coach of the Panthers.
”We have put together a balanced non-conference schedule that will help us prepare for conference play,” Capel said in a statement. “A couple of our marquee matchups in non-conference play will be on the road, but our home schedule is loaded when you look at the fact we are hosting seven NCAA tournament teams from a year ago in conference play.”
“We are excited about the opportunity we have this season and look forward to seeing some great crowds at the Pete,” he added.
First half of the #ZooEra revealed.— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) July 23, 2018
️: https://t.co/51TDhpSoSq pic.twitter.com/ClM9p4yUkB
As Capel alluded to, the Panthers are set to face three notable opponents in their non-conference schedule in West Virginia, Duquesne and Iowa, and each of those games will take place away from the Petersen Events Center. However, that could also be considered advantageous to an extent, as two of those games are set to take place in or near the Pittsburgh metro area.
It’s also worth noting that West Virginia, which is the true headliner of the trio as Pitt’s most significant rival, is the only team in that group that finished last season with a winning record. Duquesne, who Pitt defeated in the 2017 City Game, was only able to muster a 16-16 mark after a hot start, and Iowa ended up sinking to the lower depths of the Big Ten with a 14-19 record.
As for the remainder of Pitt’s opponents, the competition looks refreshingly light in comparison to last season’s non-conference schedule, which featured six eventual 20-win teams, including three from the Power Five conferences. Pitt only appears to have one or two such teams slated for this autumn, which could see the team gain more some much-needed momentum early on.