Pitt Non-Conference Hoop Schedule Announced

The Pitt men's basketball team will play 13 non-conference games during the 2009-10 season, and those dates are now set.

The entire Pittsburgh schedule, including the Big East regular-season dates and times, will be released sometime in the future.

Nine of the non-conference games will be at the Petersen Events Center this season, but several top opponents will play the Panthers at neutral sites. Pitt plays two games in the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City (Nov. 23-24) against Iowa, Wichita State and/or Texas and the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden against Indiana (Dec. 8). Each game will be a national telecast on either ESPN or ESPN2.

The Panthers open the regular season at the Petersen Events Center against Wofford Nov. 13. Pitt also plays host to 2009 NCAA Tournament participant Binghamton (Nov. 17) and Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 19) as part of its four-game O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic. This is similar to last year's home and away tourney games.

Youngstown State (Nov. 28), New Hampshire (Dec. 4), Kent State (Dec. 12), Mount St. Mary's, Dec. 19), Ohio (Dec. 22) and Robert Morris -- on a date to be determined -- are other non-conference home games. The Binghamton game Nov. 17 will be at 5:30 p.m. and televised on ESPN2 as part of the network's 24-hour college basketball coverage.

The Panthers also face intra-city rival Duquesne in the annual City Game Wednesday, Dec. 2, at the Pete.

According to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, Pitt ranks fourth nationally in average ratings percentage index (RPI) over the past seven seasons (2002-09). The Panthers average a 12.4 RPI ranking, to trail only No. 1 Duke (6.4), No. 2 Kansas (10.9) and No. 3 North Carolina (12.3).

Last year, Pitt (31-5) ranked No. 2 nationally in RPI behind North Carolina and No. 7 overall in the strength of schedule ratings. The RPI takes into account several factors that include winning percentage, strength of schedule, opponents' average winning percentage and the average winning percentage of those opponents.

A team's RPI is the NCAA's No. 1 factor to determine seeding for the NCAA Tournament with all those factors playing a part in where a team is placed.

Pitt will play its regular 18-game Big East schedule with games against each of the 15 Conference opponents. Additionally, the Panthers face three of those schools two times apiece (St. John's, Seton Hall and West Virginia).

Pitt plays nine home games and nine away contests during Big East regular-season competition. Home opponents at the Petersen Events Center include DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Providence, Rutgers, St. John's, Seton Hall, Villanova and West Virginia.

The Panthers' 2009-10 Conference road opponents include Cincinnati, Connecticut, Marquette, Notre Dame, St. John's, Seton Hall, South Florida, Syracuse and West Virginia. Dates and times concerning Pitt's Big East schedule will be released at a later date.

Combining Pitt's Big East and non-conference schedules, the Panthers will play 21 games against teams which advanced to postseason play in 2008-09 and 10 contests against schools which advanced to the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

The Big East Championship Tournament is scheduled for March 9-13 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the NCAA Tournament's First and Second Rounds begin March 18-21.

Additionally, Pitt will play host to exhibition games against both Slippery Rock (Nov. 1) and Coker College, S.C. (Nov. 8).

The annual Pitt basketball FanFest and Maggie Dixon Heart Fair is Saturday, Oct. 3 from 1-4 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center. The FanFest is free and open to the public and features an autograph session with the Pitt men's and women's basketball teams along with a Heart Health Fair.

More details on FanFest will be available at later. The event has been moved to a date prior to the first day of official practice for both the Pitt men's and women's squads. Pitt's official practice schedule begins Friday, Oct. 16.

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