PITTSBURGH — Pitt will have Kene Chukwuka starting at center, with Terrell Brown coming off the bench, Au’Diese Toney at forward and guards Xavier Johnson, Sidy N’Dir and Trey McGowens.
Virginia Tech will start Wabissa Bede, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Ahmed Hill, Kerry Blackshear, Jr. and Ty Outlaw.
Pitt is 1-5 against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 this season, but Pittsburgh Sports Live basketball analyst Doug Biega thinks this one is a winnable contest for the Panthers against the No. 22 Hokies.
Here’s Biega and Alan Saunders with a pregame breakdown from Petersen Events Center:
BACK IN ACTION
Pitt is expecting redshirt junior wing Malik Ellison to suit up on Saturday against No. 22 Virginia Tech after missing the team’s last two games with a concussion.
Ellison took warmups with the rest of the team, and if all goes well, he should return to the lineup. He was injured late in Pitt’s lost at Wake Forest on Feb. 5.
He is fifth on Pitt with 6.8 points per game and tied for fourth with 3.9 rebounds per game.
PUTTING IN WORK
Two and a half hours before tip-off at Petersen Events Center, Pitt forward Terrell Brown was the first man in the gym, spending over 30 minutes working on his shots from the wing and free-throw line.
After a woeful game at Wake Forest on Feb. 5, when he went 0 for 5, Brown’s shooting has been on the rise the last two outings.
Against NC State and Boston College, he shot a combined 7 for 13 (53.8 percent) and is 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
Virginia Tech had first-class accommodations for the Hokies on their way into Pittsburgh for today’s game against the Panthers.
The Hookies made the 38-minute flight on Friday afternoon from Roanoke, Virginia to Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, and they did so in one of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s rides.
.@HokiesMBB are in Pittsburgh thanks to @DaleJr
ROA ➡️ AGC
N138DE | E145
🏀2-5 @ PITT (Last Trip/Win: 2017)
🛬5:44pm (☀️ | 39º)
📸 Amarillo Aviation | https://t.co/JvD2QzzVae#VirginiaTech #Hokies #GoHokies #ACC #ACCMBB pic.twitter.com/Hf2gDEUCAD
— Sports + Aviation (@SportsAviation) February 15, 2019