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Capsule breakdown of Pitt’s non-conference opponents

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Here is a breakdown of Pitt’s non-conference opponents for the 2011-12 season.

The Panthers play two teams from BCS Conferences, both away from home, with Tennessee in Knoxville, on Dec. 3 in the Big East/SEC Challenge and against Oklahoma State on Dec. 10 at Madison Square Garden.

On paper, this appears to be one of Pitt’s weaker non-conference schedules in Jamie Dixon’s tenure – to be fair, the staff sought a tougher opponent at Madison Square Garden, but no one would bite – and time will tell where the Panthers’ strength of schedule ends up.

The teams are listed in alphabetically order.

Opponent: Albany

Date: Friday, Nov. 11

Site: Petersen Events Center

2010-11 RPI: 216

2010-11 record: 16-16

Returning starters: 4

Notables: The Great Danes have two all-America East guards in Logan Aronhalt (14.6 ppg) and Mike Black (12.3 ppg).

 

Opponent: Duquesne

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 30

Site: Consol Energy Center

2010-11 RPI: 108

2010-11 record: 19-13

Returning starters: 3

Notables: Senior wing B.J. Monteiro (11.4 ppg) and junior guard T.J. McConnell (10.8 ppg, 140 assists) lead coach Ron Everhart’s team. The Panthers beat Duquesne, 80-66, last season in the inaugural college basketball game at Consol Energy Center.

 

Opponent: La Salle

Date: Tuesday, Nov. 22

Site: Petersen Events Center

2010-11 RPI: 169

2010-11 record: 15-18

Returning starters: 2

Notables: The Explorers lost their top player, center Aaric Murray, to West Virginia, but they return sophomore guard Tyreek Doren (9.8) and senior guard Earl Pettis (9.1 ppg).

Opponent: Long Beach State

Date: Wednedsay, Nov. 16

Site: Petersen Events Center

2010-11 RPI: 90

2010-11 record: 22-12

Returning starters: 4

Notables: It’s not everyday a Big West school travels to play at the Pete, and LBSU is the defending conference regular-season champion. The 49ers return senior Casper Ware, who averaged 19.1 points, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals last season. The 5-10 Ware is one of top mid-major point guards in the nation and ranks in the top 10 in school history in numerous categories.

Opponent: Oklahoma State

Date: Saturday, Dec. 3

Site: Madison Square Garden

2010-11 RPI: 61

2010-11 record: 20-14

Returning starters: 2

Notables: This will be the fifth meeting with Oklahoma State in the past eight years, including the second round of the NCAA Tournament during Pitt’s 2009 Elite Eight run. The Cowboys are a mid-pack Big 12 team, returning point guard Keiton Page (13.2 ppg) and wing J.P. Olukemi. They also welcome five-star small forward LeBryan Nash, one of the most prized recruits in the nation in 2011.

Opponent: Penn

Date: Friday, Nov. 25

Site: The Palestra

2010-11 RPI: 173

2010-11 record: 13-15

Returning starters: 3

Notables: This will be the Panthers’ first trip to the legendary Palestra in 25 years, as part of the Philly Hoop Group Classic. The Quakers return all-Ivy League point guard Zach Rosen (14.3 ppg, 152 assists) and 6-6 G Tyler Bernardini (12.9), as well as sophomore guard Miles Cartwright, who scored a game-high 22 points in Pitt’s 82-58 victory over the Quakers last season.  

Opponent: Rider

Date: Sunday, Nov 13

Site: Petersen Events Center

2010-11 RPI: 105

2010-11 record: 23-11

Returning starters: 3

Notables: Rider lost forward Mike Ringgold, who scored a game-high 24 points in the Broncs’ 87-68 loss at Pitt last season, but they return top big man Danny Stewart (7 ppg, 7 rpg).

Opponent: Robert Morris

Date: Sunday, Nov. 27

Site: Petersen Events Center

2010-11 RPI: 100

2010-11 record: 18-14

Returning starters: 4

Notables: Coach Andy Toole will be without top scorer Karon Abraham, who was suspended for the 2011-12 season for violating team rules, but the Colonials return everyone else, led by guard Velton Jones (12.1 ppg) and forward Russell Johnson (11.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg). Six different returning players started at least 10 games last season.

Opponent: St. Francis (Pa.)

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 20

Site: Petersen Events Center

2010-11 RPI: 257

2010-11 record: 9-21

Returning starters: 4

Notables: The Red Flash bring back seven of their top nine scorers, led by junior guards Umar Shannon (15.8 PPG) and Chris Johnson (8.3 ppg).

Opponent: South Carolina State

Date: Saturday, Dec. 17

Site: Petersen Events Center

2010-11 RPI: 312

2010-11 record: 10-22

Returning starters: 3

Notables: The eighth-place team in the MEAC last year, South Carolina State returns guard Brandon Riley (9.4 ppg), 6-8 forward Omar Sanders (7.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and point guard Khalif Toombs (7.0 ppg)

Opponent: Tennessee

Date: Saturday, Dec. 3

Site: Thompson-Boling Arena

2010-11 RPI: 33

2010-11 record: 19-15

Returning starters: 1

Notables: The post-Bruce Pearl era begins with new coach Cuonzo Martin for the Volunteers. This game is part of the Big East/SEC challenge, and the Panthers will look to avenge last season’s 83-76 loss to Tennessee at Consol Energy Center. Cameron Tatum, a 6-7 guard, is the lone returning starter. He averaged 8.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season.

Opponent: Virginia Military Institute

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 6

Site: Petersen Events Center

2010-11 RPI: 200

2010-11 record: 18-13

Returning starters: 4

Notables: The Keydets return seven of their top eight scorers and should be one of the top teams in the Big South. Forward Stan Okoye (16.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and 6-4 senior guard Keith Gabriel (14.2 ppg) are the top players.

Opponent: Wagner

Date: Friday, Dec. 23

Site: Petersen Events Center

2010-11 RPI: 170

2010-11 record: 13-17

Returning starters: 5

Notables: The Seahawks return all five starters for second-year coach Dan Hurley, led by senior guard Tyler Murray (16.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and sophomore guard Latif Rivers (6.1 ppg).

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