Q: Ray: A quick question for you: How many losses do you see the Panthers having before Big East play starts? I'm guessing they will lose one or two games among Duquesne, Washington, Oklahoma State, Duke and Dayton.
Steve Blahovec, Arlington, Va.
FITTIPALDO: Two losses is a pretty good guess, Steve. I think Pitt will find a way to win tonight at Duquesne, at Dayton and at home against Oklahoma State. But that game on Saturday at Washington is going to be tough. That is a long road trip for only one game. I would not be surprised at all if Pitt lost that game even though the Huskies are not ranked. And then there's the Duke game. I expect that to be a very competitive game, but it will basically be a home game for Duke. They are selling the majority of tickets for the game. Plus, they're a top 10 team. If Pitt is 10-2 going into the Big East schedule that affords the
Panthers plenty of wiggle room. Even if they go 11-7 in the Big East, that's a 21-9 record. With the quality non-conference schedule it's hard for me to imagine how the selection committee would leave the
Panthers out of the NCAA tournament.