The Pitt men’s basketball team will open the 2019-20 season with an ACC matchup with Florida State on Nov. 6, according to a statement from the university. The game will be played at the Petersen Events Center and is set to be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 or ESPNU in conjunction with six other conference games that will mark the launch of the ACC Network. The time of the game has yet to be announced.
From the perspective of the Pitt fanbase, the game will mark the start of the second year of the Jeff Capel era in addition to the debut of a team built closer to the coach’s specifications than the one he inherited from Kevin Stallings. Xavier Johnson, Trey McGowens and Au’Diese Toney are all expected to return for their sophomore seasons, during which they will once again form the core of the team. But they will no longer be flanked by Jared Wilson-Frame, whose eligibility has been exhausted.
Incoming freshmen Justin Champagnie, Karim Coulibaly and Gerald Drumgoole are all likely to see action in the game, as each of them occupies a position of need for Pitt. And with Capel and his staff continuing to put in work on the recruiting trail this offseason, it’s unlikely those three will be the only new faces on the Pitt bench come early November.
The timing of the game is untraditional to say the least, as the ACC has given its teams the leeway to wade into their respective seasons against opponents of their choosing for the entirety of Pitt’s affiliation with the conference up to this point. With that said, the ACC now has a network to get off the ground, and matchups like Virginia vs. Syracuse (which will air on the ACC Network) clearly draw more viewers than NC State vs. Colgate.
This slew of games is also part of the ACC's transition from an 18-game conference schedule to a 20-game conference schedule for the 2019-20 season, which was announced back in February. An additional conference game will be played by each ACC team before January.
“Next year begins our move to a 20-game conference schedule, and to be able to open the season with a round of conference games makes it truly unique,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said a in press release. “We believe it will be a great way to tipoff another outstanding season of ACC basketball for our coaches, student-athletes and fans. In addition, we’re pleased to have a terrific partner in ESPN to televise these games on the new ACC Network and its other channels.”
The Panthers defeated the Seminoles 75-62 when the teams last met in Pittsburgh on Jan. 14. At that point, Florida State was ranked 11th in the nation.