2023-24 Pittsburgh men's basketball season preview

Pittsburgh Panthers 

2022-23 record: 24-12, 14-6 in the ACC

Head coach: Jeff Capel 

Tenure at Pittsburgh: 5th Season

Career coaching record: 75-81

Home court: Petersen Events Center

Projected starters: G Jaland Lowe, G Ishmael Leggett, F William Jeffress, F Blake Hinson, C Federiko Federiko

Bench: F Zack Austin, G Carlton Carrington, F Guillermo Diaz Graham, F Jorge Diaz Graham, F Marlon Barnes, Jr.

Overview: The Pittsburgh Panthers reached their low point in the 2017-18 season, when they failed to win a single ACC game. Since then, with the introduction of former Duke player and assistant coach Jeff Capel as head coach, the Panthers have steadily improved. Last year, Pittsburgh recorded its best record in the past five seasons. It fell to No. 3-seed Xavier in the NCAA tournament, marking the Panthers’ first tournament appearance since Capel became head coach. With this new wave of success, Pittsburgh looks poised to build a legacy as a new potent threat in the ACC. 

The Panthers have several new faces on their team with only two of their 2022-23 starters returning. This high turnover rate may cause Pittsburgh to initially struggle as the team works on building cohesion and trust. Two of these new faces are transfer students, guard Ishmael Legget from Rhode Island and forward Zack Austin from High Point University. With these two on the roster, the Panthers will have no shortage of NCAA basketball experience. Offensive play has been Pittsburgh's strong suit, with the team averaging an impressive 75.1 points per game in the 2022-23 season. Austin and Leggett, both proven shooters, will surely help the team grow their offensive dominance. 

Of the Panthers’ returners, senior forward Blake Hinson looks poised to have another impressive season with Pittsburgh, after leading his team in rebounds, points, and 3-point field goals in his junior year. As one of only two seniors on the team, Hinson will assuredly be a key leader for his team to rally around. On the opposite spectrum of experience, freshman guard Carlton Carrington will likely make the biggest impact of the Panthers’ freshman newcomers as a talented defender off the bench.  

Team ceiling: Jeff Capel continues to lead his team to improvement with a dominant and effective offense, leading Pittsburgh to make a run in the NCAA tournament. 

Team floor: Pittsburgh falls back to its old ways with lackluster ACC play. The lack of veteran leadership and cohesion between new players could cause the Panthers not to develop an offensive rhythm and miss out on the possibility of making consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. 


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