Pitt Hoops Game Preview: Pitt vs. Northern Illinois

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Head Coach Jeff Capel signals from the sideline while standing in front of the Oakland Zoo

The Pitt men’s basketball team returns to action tonight with a home matchup against the Northern Illinois Huskies, 10 days after falling 64-46 to no. 1 Louisville on the road in their second ACC matchup of the season.

That game marked Pitt’s final ACC contest before January, and tonight the Panthers begin a two-week stretch of home games against mid-major opponents. Following tonight’s game against Northern Illinois Huskies, Pitt is set to challenge Binghamton on Friday, Dec. 20, and Canisius on Monday, Dec. 30.

After the game against Canisius, Pitt opens up the heart of their conference schedule with a home matchup against Wake Forest on Saturday, Jan. 4 at the Petersen Events Center. The next few games leading up to that contest will be vital to the rest of the Panthers’ season, as Jeff Capel’s young team will have three more opportunities work out some of the kinks before hitting the always arduous ACC slate.

Should Pitt win its final three out-of-conference games, they would enter ACC play with a 10-3 record. The Panthers won just four conference games a year ago and zero conference games in 2018, so a successful ACC campaign is far from guaranteed for Capel’s squad.

But entering ACC play with double-digit wins combined with moderately successful play in-conference could give Pitt their first shot at postseason play since Jamie Dixon’s final year at the helm for the Panthers.

The road to a 10-3 record starts tonight at home with the Huskies. Let’s break down the team and the game matchup.

Fast Facts

  • This will be Pitt’s first matchup with Northern Illinois going back at least as far as the 1949-50