Men’s basketball releases nonconference schedule

With only two scholarship players returning from last year's team, head coach Kevin Stallings will use this season's nonconference slate to find out how to get the most out of his new recruits. (TPN File Photo)

The Pitt basketball team announced its 13-game nonconference schedule for the 2017-18 season Monday as head coach Kevin Stallings has just under four months to get his young players ready to compete.

A renewal of the Backyard Brawl rivalry against West Virginia University highlights the slate. The teams last played during the 2011-12 season when they split the season series at a game a piece. This contest will take place at the Petersen Events Center Dec. 9 and will be the Panthers only home game against a Power Five opponent prior to conference play.

To start the season, the Panthers will hit the road to play Navy as part of the Veterans Classic, Nov. 10, in Annapolis, Maryland. The Midshipmen finished an even 16-16 last season and went 10-8 in the Patriot League.

Pitt will then return home to play the first two contests of the four-game Legends Classic before traveling to Brooklyn to play the latter half. At home, the Panthers will take on Montana State and the University of California, Santa Barbara, before playing two games against either Penn State, Oklahoma State or Texas A&M in Brooklyn.

Other notable matchups include the annual City Game against Duquesne, which will take place Dec. 1 at PPG Paints Arena. Last year, the Panthers lost the matchup for the first time since 2000 in a 64-55 upset by the Dukes.

Rounding out the schedule are games against Lehigh, High Point, Mount St. Mary’s, McNeese State, Delaware State and Towson.

Looking at the slate, it’s clear that Pitt has a relatively easy schedule, giving Stallings’ players time to adjust to the Division I level. With all but three games against non-Power Five opponents, the group should have a chance to rack up wins and build confidence heading into ACC play.

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