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Pitt Basketball

Massive Opportunity Awaits for Jeff Capel’s Panthers in Return to Greensboro



Jeff Capel watches during Pitt's ACC Tournament game vs. Georgia Tech in Greensboro, N.C. on March 8, 2023. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Pitt basketball is back on the national stage.

Earlier this week, Pitt won the biggest game of the Jeff Capel-era, triumphantly prevailing over a tough Mississippi State squad in the First Four for its first NCAA Tournament win since 2014.

Now, Pitt has the opportunity to really shock the nation. The Panthers — who were picked to finish 14th in the ACC before the season — face 6-seed Iowa State on Friday, once again in Greensboro, where they played twice just last week in the ACC Tournament.

“It feels good,” Nelly Cummings told PSN about being back in Greensboro. “I think we’re all really focused, locked in on our assignment. We know that task in front of us is really big. We’re all really ready for that.”

Pitt’s season has included a suspension to its top prospect, numerous injuries, players leaving the team, great wins, and bad losses. Despite everything that has happened since game one, this group of Panthers is now officially in the dance with a chance to make this run even more special on Friday. Iowa State and leading scorers Jaren Holmes and Gabe Kalsheur stand in the way of Pitt’s magical run, but the Panthers have only been focused on themselves in preparation for the big game.”

“Just be Pitt,” Blake Hinson said on Thursday. “We just be Pitt, we’re good enough to beat any team at any place, any time. We just be us, and we can be successful.”

The story of this Pitt basketball team has been a special one. Led by veterans gathered from the transfer portal, this group has developed a sort of chemistry that the Pitt program has not seen since the Jamie Dixon era. The Panthers are bonded by the pursuit of winning, and have been using that motivation to win each day to continue their magical run this March.

“I’m just unbelievably proud, man, to be on this journey with them,” Jeff Capel said after the team’s win over Mississippi State. “I don’t want it to end.”

Pitt and Iowa State will tip off at 3:10 p.m. on Tru TV.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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