Mark your calendars: Key winter sports dates

The+Pitt+women%E2%80%99s+basketball+team+has+already+surpassed+its+conference+win+total+from+last+season%2C+starting+off+this+season+with+three+wins+and+three+losses+in+ACC+play.+The+team+will+play+Louisville+on+Feb.+18.

Kaycee Orwig | Senior Staff Photographer

The Pitt women’s basketball team has already surpassed its conference win total from last season, starting off this season with three wins and three losses in ACC play. The team will play Louisville on Feb. 18.

By Carson Zaremski, Staff Writer

NCAA winter sports have begun to wrap up, but many important matchups remain for several of Pitt’s athletic programs. Men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, swimming and diving, gymnastics and indoor track all have meaningful matchups awaiting.

Feb. 3-10: Men’s Basketball vs. Virginia Tech, Florida State and Louisville

Pitt men’s basketball has a tough three-game span over the course of seven days coming up in early February.

All three opponents currently sit in the AP Top 25, with the first of the three on Feb. 3 against No. 20 Virginia Tech. The Panthers then host No. 16 Florida State on Feb. 6 before traveling to No. 25 Louisville on Feb. 10, playing a team the Panthers lost to earlier in the year.

These three games will serve as an important test for the Panthers, and should show how strong they have become. Coming out of this span of games with some tallies in the win column can help improve Pitt’s shot at the NCAA Tournament.

Feb. 5: Wrestling vs. North Carolina

The Pitt wrestling team has gotten off to a strong start this season, going 3-1 with its only loss coming to No. 3 NC State.

With only three regular season matches remaining, the 12th-ranked Panthers will have to prove themselves when they host the undefeated No. 14 North Carolina Tar Heels.

Feb. 18: Women’s Basketball vs. Louisville

The Pitt women’s basketball team has already surpassed its conference win total from last season, starting off this season with three wins and three losses in ACC play.

For the first time since 2010, the Panthers could get the chance to play the No. 1-ranked team in the country, taking on Louisville at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt hasn’t beaten the Cardinals since 2010, so keeping up with them in this game could show that Pitt is on their way to brighter futures on the court.

Feb. 17-21: ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships

The Pitt women’s swim team won its lone meet this year against the West Virginia Mountaineers, and its top two divers finished above all of West Virginia’s roster on the Women’s Platform by a fairly wide margin.

Seven ranked women’s swim and dive teams currently compete in the ACC, where the Pitt women’s team competes. The Panthers will have a steep hill to climb if they wish to place well in the ACC tournament, which starts on Feb. 17, but the win against the Mountaineers bodes well for their future.

Feb. 24-27: ACC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships

The Pitt men’s swim team won its lone matchup with West Virginia 193-107, giving the Panthers wins on both the men’s and women’s sides. On the diving board, sophomore Dylan Reed put together a standout performance against the Mountaineers to win the Men’s 3M Championship.

 

Senior fly/freestyle swimmer Blaise Vera has emerged as one of the nation’s top swimmers and led the Panthers in scoring in both of the past two ACC Championships.

Vera leads the No. 22 Panthers as just one of eight ranked ACC men’s teams, setting up an exciting showdown for the conference meet. The Panthers head into the packed field at the ACC championships on Feb. 24 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Feb. 25-27: ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships

Both Pitt’s men’s and women’s teams struggled in their lone track meet, each finishing last among the three teams in attendance.

Pitt’s track and field team will travel to Clemson, South Carolina, for the ACC Indoor Championships. The men’s team will take on highly ranked teams like Florida State and Virginia and the women’s team will face powerhouses like Duke and Clemson.

Mar. 5-17: Gymnastics vs. West Virginia

The Pitt women’s gymnastics team has had an unlucky start, losing its first two matchups by three or fewer points each. But the season has just begun, and the Panthers have many meets ahead of them, including three straight against West Virginia on March 5, March 12 and March 17.

West Virginia is currently ranked No. 26 in the country, so the matchups will certainly present a challenge for the No. 46 Panthers. But the Panthers likely won’t focus on the rankings, as they will have their attention on beating their Backyard Brawl rival.

Mar. 9-13: ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament

Considered one of the most prestigious conference championships, the ACC tournament will take place in the second week of March. The week is routinely filled with upsets and exciting basketball madness.

The ACC cancelled last season’s tournament because of COVID-19, and have cancelled many games because of protocols thus far this season, so we will have to see how the conference handles team safety this year.The ACC moved the tournament to Greensboro, North Carolina, this year in response to the pandemic.

If the Panthers can’t make the case for an NCAA tournament bid in the regular season, they will have one last shot in Greensboro. The 15-team tournament will certainly include several ranked teams, testing every aspect of the Panthers’ game. Pitt can make a huge statement if it puts together a late-season run here.

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