There may not be a program in the country that is more notorious for their weak non-conference scheduling that Pitt.
In the 11 seasons that Jamie Dixon has been the head coach of the Panthers, they’ve averaged a KenPom non-conference schedule strength of 250.1. Their highest ranking during those 11 years was 129th back in 2007. Only three times in Dixon’s tenure has their non-conference SOS been in the top 200, none of which were in the last five years. In 2012-2013, only seven teams played a weaker non-conference schedule.
While this has allowed Dixon to rack up wins, it has drawn the ire of national media pundits on every medium and annually hurts Pitt’s seeding in the NCAA tournament.
On Tuesday, the Panthers announced their 2014-2015 non-conference schedule:
- Nov. 14: vs. Niagara
- Nov. 16: vs. Samford
- Nov. 21: at Hawaii
- Nov. 24-26: Maui Invitational (teams in field: Arizona, BYU, Chaminade, Kansas State, Missouri, Purdue and San Diego State)
- Dec. 2: at Indiana (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
- Dec. 5: vs. Duquesne (neutral court)
- Dec. 13: vs. St. Bonaventure
- Dec. 17: vs. Manhattan
- Dec. 20: vs. Oakland
- Dec. 23: vs. Holy Cross
- Dec. 30: vs. Florida Gulf Coast
- Feb. 2: vs. Bryant
The Maui Invitational is a nice addition, but it’s not a guarantee. If the Panthers lose their first game and wind up in the loser’s bracket, they could end up in a situation where they play Chaminade, a Division II program, and Purdue, who doesn’t look like they’ll finish in the top ten in the Big Ten next season.
A trip to Indiana is also nice, but it’s part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, meaning that Pitt had no say in the scheduling of that game. The only other road game on Pitt’s schedule is a visit to Hawaii, which comes as an acclimation to Hawaiian time for the Maui Invitational.
The schedule should be an upgrade of last season, but Dixon once again did not exactly putting together a murderer’s row. We’ll see how it affects them this season.