It was a very busy day for Pitt yesterday, which is why I am only getting to this now.
The actual dates still need to be set. The home, away and home-and-home opponents are announced.
Home only games:
UConn, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, USF and Syracuse
Road only games:
Georgetown, Louisville, Providence, Rutgers and St. John’s
Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette and Villanova
Still an 18-game schedule. Aside from the extra home-and-home because there are 15 teams in the conference for the season, there is one other little tweak to the schedule.
Pitt has to go on the road to Louisville rather than get them at home. Last season the two played a home-and-home. The year before, Pitt was on the road at Louisville. Usually this would mean Pitt gets them at home this time, but it didn’t work out that way. Given the overall fairness of the schedule, I’m ascribing it to just the break of the schedule and the extra home-and-home. Not malice from the Big East (unlike the SEC/Big East challenge). It seems Pitt is seeing it that way as well.
Based on the schedule, my guess is the Big East expects Pitt to be somewhere in the vast middle of the conference. Maybe the upper-middle. Maybe the lower middle. Cinci, Marquette and Villanova all have similar profiles. Capable of finishing the season anywhere from 4 to 10 in the conference.
That’s really what you have to hope for in the home-and-home. Getting 2-3 teams with similar expectations. Then, depending on your expectations (middle or low) you will have home-and-homes with opponents who may be below your expectations.
I really think the Big East did a good job with the schedule for this year, overall. At least based on present expectations. Normally, I would say UConn got a gift with home-and-homes of Cinci, DePaul, Providence and USF. However, given the state of UConn for the upcoming season and that USF should be decent (I know, weird to read. Even weirder to type), it’s not that much of a present.
In way too early preseason expectations Louisville is expected to win the conference. Then it’s teams like Syracuse, Georgetown and Notre Dame likely believed to round out the top-4 teams.
The middle should be wide open as always. Pitt, Marquette, Cinci, USF, Villanova, St. John’s and even Rutgers should be in some jumble for 5 to 11. Then it could be expected to see Seton Hall, UConn, Providence, DePaul in the bottom.
Now, if only Pitt can finish its non-con schedule by finding a good team to come to the Pete.