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Pitt Basketball

How Has Jeff Capel Compared to Previous First-Year ACC Coaches?

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Pitt will visit Georgia Tech on Wednesday night as the Panthers hope to snap an eight-game losing streak and earn their third victory in conference play.

Despite the losing streak, there’s still a high level of confidence that first-year coach Jeff Capel has the Panthers on the right track, and last week, PSN put data behind that confidence.

So, we’ve established that the Pitt team is on an upward trajectory.

But what is a reasonable expectation for where it will end?

Pitt has five games remaining in the 2018-19 regular season. How many would Pitt have to win to call it an unqualified success? Or perhaps, they’re already there.

I took a look at the year-over-year change in record for each current ACC head coach, and so far, Capel has fared pretty well. At the current moment, Pitt has won 15.4 percent of its ACC games, which is a 15.4 percent better than last season’s 0-fer.

That would be the third-best mark among current ACC head coaches, behind only NC State’s Kevin Keatts and Miami’s Jim Larrañaga.

Even if Pitt loses out the rest of the way, Capel would do no worse than tie for third-best first-year turnaround with North Carolina’s Roy Williams.

NOTE: Notre Dame’s Mike Brey and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim became head coaches before their schools joined the ACC

Of course, Capel’s mentor, longtime Duke head coach and Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski is dead last on that list, so maybe first-year success isn’t the best measure of overall coaching ability.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
 
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