Pitt men’s basketball to play 11 out-of-conference games ahead of ACC play in 2022


AP Photo/John Minchillo

Pittsburgh’s John Hugley (23) looks to pass against Boston College’s James Karnik (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game of the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s tournament in March in New York.

By Frankie Richetti, Senior Staff Writer

Pitt men’s basketball now has its full slate of opponents after releasing its non-conference schedule last week. The Panthers will play 11 games out of conference in preparation for their 20-game slate against ACC opponents. 

Pitt will only play two true road games throughout non-conference play, going on the road to face familiar opponents at Northwestern and Vanderbilt. The Panthers will also partake in the Legends Classic this season, where they will compete in a four-team tournament with the likes of VCU, Michigan and Arizona State. Pitt will also host the Backyard Brawl, one of seven home games throughout its non-conference schedule. 

The Panthers will open the season with Tennessee-Martin, where a familiar face returns to the Pete. Former Panther guard Parker Stewart is in his second stint with UT Martin after playing one season with Indiana. Stewart opened his career with Pitt in 2017, and still holds the record for most three-pointers by a first-year player. 

Later that week, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers will come to town. This will be the fifth meeting between the two schools in the past six seasons. Pitt has yet to beat West Virginia since the two renewed the rivalry. West Virginia had a rare down year last season, finishing at 16-17 overall and 4-14 in Big 12 play. 

Like Pitt, West Virginia hit the transfer portal hard this offseason, adding guards Joe Toussaint and Erik Stevenson along with a pair of forwards, Tre Mitchell and Emmitt Matthews Jr. 

After the Backyard Brawl, the Panthers will return to the Barclays Center — the home of the 2022 ACC Tournament — for the Legends Classic. The matchups aren’t set yet, but Pitt is sure to get a test out of any of the possible opponents. Michigan could be a top-25 team, VCU won 22 games last season and the Arizona State Sun Devils check in at No. 4 in 247 Sports transfer portal team rankings

The Panthers’ schedule softens up a bit after the Legends Classic with home games coming against Alabama State, Fairleigh Dickinson and William & Mary. But head coach Jeff Capel has let down Pitt fans and fallen to inferior opponents in the past — Pitt dropped games to the likes of Niagara, Nicholls State, St. Francis and The Citadel in the first four years of Capel’s tenure. 

Pitt will bank on the experience of their transfers to not overlook any games like they have in recent years. The Panthers’ current roster has played a combined 631 games at the Division I level, trumping last season’s total of 472. 

The Panthers will then hit the road for the ACC-Big Ten challenge, where they will match up with Northwestern. This will be Pitt’s third matchup with Northwestern in four years — Pitt won both of the previous matchups — the first coming in the Fort Myers Classic in 2019 before squaring up with the Wildcats in Evanston the following year

Following the matchup with Northwestern, Pitt will play Vanderbilt in what will be their second consecutive true road game. Vanderbilt came to the Pete last season and beat Pitt handily by a score of 68-52. While the Commodores lost guard Scotty Pippen Jr. to the NBA draft, they gained back their second leading scorer from last season, forward Jordan Wright. 

Pitt will wrap up non-conference play with home games against Sacred Heart and North Florida before entering ACC play.