Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Pitt and West Virginia both graduated several important pieces, but are both expected to make the NCAA Tournament in 2013 by SB Nation's resident bracketologist, Chris Dobbertean.
With college basketball tipping off Friday night, it's only natural to look toward March -- and both Pitt and West Virginia basketball are in Chris Dobbertean's first, extremely early SB Nation bracket projection.
The Mountaineers went dancing last season for the fifth consecutive season, only to see their chances of going far killed immediately by Gonzaga -- the team they'll face in their season opener Monday night. That was their last game ever representing the Big East: the Big 12 might be the historically weaker conference, but Dobbertean projects six of the 10 squads in the conference to go dancing. With Kevin Jones and Darryl "Truck" Bryant gone, the team will be on the bubble, projected as a No. 11 seed.
The Panthers might have ended last season with a win, but it was in the CBI: although Ashton Gibbs is graduated, the team has a group of talented freshmen, including five-star center recruit Steven Adams. Dobbertean projects them as a No. 9 seed -- although he admits to completely whiffing on Pitt last year, projecting the 2011 Big East champions to be a No. 2 seed in his season-opening projections, when in fact they missed the tourney and the NIT completely.