Team preview: Pittsburgh Panthers

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(Information in this team report is as of Oct. 1.)


Reinforcement of the foundation for a Pittsburgh program that has enjoyed unparalleled regular-season success in college basketball continues long before players return to campus at the end of August and autumn announces its arrival weeks later.

It starts sometime the previous season, maybe when the Panthers are happy and playful while awaiting their charter flight back from another road win in the Big East. The team's seniors, sensing that the end of their college careers is approaching, start in on the guys who have eligibility remaining.

"You guys won't be as good as us next year when we're gone."

It continues as graduation nears, and the seniors who have helped the Panthers again achieve what have become staples for the Big East's most consistent program -- another year of at least 20-plus overall wins, 10-plus victories in the Big East, a top four finish and powerful national ranking, much like last season when Pittsburgh spent the entire year ranked inside the nation's top six schools.

"You better be better than we were."