11. Pittsburgh (5-3, 0-1)
When last season started it looked like the end had come for Jeff Capel III, who hadn’t accomplished much in his first four years with the Panthers. Not only did Pittsburgh have quite the turnaround last season, but Capel led the Panthers to the Big Dance and secured a first round win in the NCAA Tournament. Repeating a feat like that is no easy task.
The first two weeks of the season saw the Panthers look solid with some easy wins at home, but the real work started after that. They got handled by Florida at the NIT Season Tip-Off before bouncing back with a 25-point win over Oregon State a few days later. Unfortunately, they’ve struggled since then, losing a pair of home games to Missouri and Clemson with less than ideal performances both nights.
Blake Hinson was last year’s hero and he’s back again, along with talented freshman Carlton Carrington. The defense looked good the first few weeks of the season and certainly kept them in those recent home losses, but you have to what just what the Panthers’ ceiling will be this year. There’s no question that last year was impressive and also had its share of disappointments, but the Panthers failed in their first three opportunities for nice wins, with even two of those on their home court.