Well, college basketball season is getting closer. As you have probably heard, Pitt is bringing back Midnight Madness in a unique way. The Panthers will have their first official practice outside, on a court set up on Bigelow in the shadow of the Cathedral. The event takes place on Friday, October 12. Which just happens to also be homecoming weekend.
The entire event will be livestreamed on ESPN3, and the ESPNU Midnight Madness show will be doing live look-ins.
Pitt has also finalized their TV schedule. There will be some games that are simply unavailable to those who don’t live in the Pittsburgh/Western Pennsylvania area. Those will be some of the games that air on Pittsburgh Panthers TV, which is a Comcast only channel. The scrimmage, two exhibition games and four patsy games — Oakland (Nov. 17), Howard (Nov. 27), Delaware State (Dec. 19) and Kennesaw State (Dec. 23).
Some games will be ESPN3 streaming only. With one surprise: Mount St. Mary’s (Nov. 9), Detroit (Dec. 1), the City Game vs. Duquesne at Consol Energy Center (Dec. 5), North Florida (Dec. 8) and Bethune Cookman (Dec. 15). The City Game being streamed only is a hell of an indictment on how far Duquesne has fallen at this point, and the expectations. Not even regional/ROOT Sports interest in broadcasting it.
Not surprisingly, outside of the NIT Tip-Off Classic, national or even regional broadcasts of Pitt’s non-con are non-existent. The mix of a disappointing season last year and absolute dreck for most of the non-con will do that. Though, with yet another lockout looming for the NHL you would think ROOT might have been a little interested.
As for the 18 game conference slate, that will be found nationally. Only five games end up on the Big East Network syndication — Villanova, USF, at St. John’s and both DePaul games. The other thirteen games will be on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or CBS.
In other time-wasters. The Syracuse basketball beat writer has been killing time with top-5 lists.
There are a few Pitt mentions in the lists. Like intra-city games that includes The City Game (obviously not a lot of choices).
Top 5 Freshmen:
1. Steve Adams, Pittsburgh: Adams, a 7-foot center, is a native of New Zealand. He played at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., last year. He’s extremely athletic for a 7-footer. He plays hard, which will fit in with Pitt coach Jamie Dixon’s style. Adams burst onto the scene a year ago in the adidas Nations Tournament. Adams, playing for Team Asia, scored 20 points and grabbed 24 rebounds vs. Team USA Red. He had 37 points and 14 rebounds against Team USA Blue.
Top 5 Transfers:
1. Trey Zeigler, Pittsburgh: Don’t let the fact that Zeigler transferred to Pittsburgh from Central Michigan fool you. Zeigler, a 6-5 guard, was never a Mid-American Conference level recruit. He went to Central Michigan to play for his father, Ernie, who was let go after last season. Zeigler received a waiver to play immediately at Pitt. In his two years at Central Michigan, Zeigler scored 1,011 points. He hit double-figures 54 times in 63 career games there. Last year, he averaged a team-high 15.6 points per game, which ranked third in the MAC. He also led Central Michigan with 6.7 rebounds per game. Zeigler could have a huge impact on Pitt where he’ll get the chance to replace Ashton Gibbs in the Panthers’ starting lineup.
and Top 5 Venues:
2. Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh: It’s hard to believe the Petersen Events Center has been around for 10 years. The facility still sparkles. It’s not just one of the best arenas in the Big East, it’s one of the best in the country. The facility includes the arena itself plus athletic training facilities, a practice court, coaches offices and more. From the Daktronics video-board to the courtside suites to the student section that wraps around three-quarters of the court, the people at Pitt got it right when they built the Pete.
Only disagreement on the venue list is putting the Joyce Center (ND) at #3 and leaving the Bradley Center (Marquette) off the list.