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Pitt Sets School Milestones by Beating Virginia

The Pitt Panthers have reached the peak of the Jeff Capel Era.

PITTSBURGH -- Even after notching the best win of his time in Pittsburgh by knocking off No. 11 Virginia, Pitt Panthers head coach Jeff Capel said he hasn't allowed himself to enjoy the position his team is in and the early success that has lit a fire back under the beleaguered fanbase. 

Pitt has reached heights not seen since Jamie Dixon was leading the program to NCAA Tournaments regularly, but Capel is still trying to stay level and avoid resting on his laurels. 

“I’ve learned over my career to stay in the moment," Capel said. "I’m grateful of where we are, mainly how this team has come together. It’s been really cool to watch it and to watch their belief in each other, to watch them be selfless with one another and to give to each other. It’s been a really cool thing to see but we got to keep going.”

But just because Capel is turning a blind eye to the heights his program has reached, doesn't mean you can't celebrate how far it's come and this team's place in school history.

4-0 in ACC For Second Time Ever

After defeating the Cavaliers, The last time Pitt won the first four games of ACC play was their first year as a conference member in 2013-14. That year, the Panthers started 16-1 and knocked off league foes NC State, Maryland and Wake Forest to climb into the top 25. 

They eventually fell to then-No. 2 Syracuse on the road in a 59-54 barn-burner reminiscent of the Big East's glory days. The Panthers will have a chance to open up the best start to ACC play in program history. 

Even when they had the stability of coaching and a talent level to match their competition, Pitt has struggled to find their footing since moving from the Big East. Since that inaugural year in the league, just once have they finished with a conference winning percentage above .500, but seeing as they're expected to be favorites in 12 of their 16 remaining conference games, getting over the hump to be a winning team in ACC play should be the expectation. 

First Consecutive Wins Over Ranked Opponents Since 2011

The 2010-11 Panthers were one of the best Pitt teams ever. They rolled to 28 wins - tied for the fifth-most in program history - and just the second NCAA Tournament one-seed in school history. On their way to that historic postseason positioning, Pitt beat No. 25 West Virginia and No. 9 Villanova in a span of four days in early February.

It took 12 years, but Pitt has finally conquered ranked teams in consecutive games after taking down then-No. 25 North Carolina and No. 11 Virginia at the Petersen Events Center. Capel entered the Carolina game 2-14 over ranked opponents as Pitt's head coach and doubled that win total in less than a week. 

Beat Virginia in Regulation for First Time Since 1974

The average person can count on one hand how many times Pitt has beaten Virginia on the hardwood. The Panthers entered the game against Virginia 4-19 all-time against the Cavaliers in their 118-year program history. This week's victory marked the first for Pitt over that team in five years and the first non-overtime win since 1974. The Panthers had lost eight in a row and 15 of 16 to the Cavaliers dating back more than four decades. 

Even though their history against Virginia is not extensive, it does illustrate how far Pitt has been from competing with the very best of their new conference for all those years. As Capel said following his latest victory - Virginia's been the standard bearer of the ACC for at least the past eight years, almost exactly how long the Panthers have been members. 

The fact that the Panthers were able to beat them - and do it without a fluky shooting night for either side - proves they can sustain this hot start through the winter. 

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