Pitt will look to improve its ACC record to 2-0 when they take on Louisville at 7 p.m. tonight at the Petersen Events Center. The game will be televised locally on AT&T SportsNet and elsewhere on the ACC’s regional sports networks.
Ahead of the game, here are five things to know to get ready for the Panthers’ second conference game of the season.
LOUISVILLE HAS OWNED PITT IN RECENT YEARS AND ALL-TIME
The all-time series record between the two schools stands at 19-6 in favor of the Cardinals, including a 3-1 record against Jeff Capel-led Pitt teams. In their last matchup, Louisville took down Pitt 73-68 in overtime in Pittsburgh. Justin Champagnie led the Panthers with a strong 11-point, 11-rebound performance. Heading into that matchup last year, the Chris Mack-led Cardinals were ranked 11 in the country, sitting at 13-3. They went on to finish the season with an impressive record of 24-7.
SPORTSBOOKS SEE THIS GAME AS PRETTY EVENLY MATCHED
According to popular online sports betting service BetOnline, when the initial line was released on Dec. 21, Louisville opened as a one-point favorite against the Panthers. Since then, the line has shifted both ways, even moving to Pitt (-1.5) on late Monday afternoon. Just hours before the game, the line has gravitated back in favor of the Cardinals and currently stands at Louisville (-3.5). So far this season, Pitt has been a reliable pick, sitting at 4-2 against the spread through six games. The Over/Under against Louisville is currently hovering around 137 points according to BetOnline. Through six games, the Panthers have averaged 75.0 points per game compared to Louisville’s 71.8. The two teams have both held their opponents to less than 65 points per game, with Pitt’s average being 64.7 and Louisville’s 63.4.
PITT WILL BE WITHOUT HEAD COACH JEFF CAPEL
On Dec. 19, Pitt announced that Capel had tested positive for COVID-19, just days before its second conference game of the season against Louisville. Since being hired by Pitt ahead of the 2018 season, Capel has not missed a single game and has achieved a 35-37 overall record. On Tuesday night, the Panthers will be led by associate head coach Tim O’Toole, who is no stranger to the head coaching position. O’Toole has experience as an assistant coach at eight different division one schools as well as head coaching experience at his alma mater Fairfield University.
LOUISVILLE IS COMING OFF OF ONE OF THE WORST LOSSES IN PROGRAM HISTORY
On Saturday, Greg Gard’s senior-heavy Wisconsin Badgers demolished Louisville in Madison by a score of 85-48. The Cardinals had not lost by that wide of a margin since losing to Xavier 99-59 all the way back in 1956. On Saturday, they were led by Quinn Slazinski and David Johnson, who combined to score 23 of their 48 points. As a team, Louisville shot 36.2% from the field and 35.7% from 3-point range. They struggled to contain Wisconsin forward Micah Potter, who scored 20 points in just 20 minutes of play. Louisville’s biggest weakness was defending the perimeter, as Wisconsin went 16-for-25 from three, a whopping 64% mark.
STAR POINT GUARD CARLIK JONES WILL BE BACK AGAINST PITT
In that matchup against Wisconsin, Louisville was without star point guard Carlik Jones, who was sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols put in place by the school. However, after the game, Mack announced that Jones would be back on the court Tuesday night against Pitt. Jones is currently ranked in the top 15 in the ACC in points, rebounds, and assists per game, averaging 17.3, 7.0, and 5.3 respectively. A graduate transfer from Radford, the 6-foot-1 Jones has averaged an impressive 15.7 points per game throughout his college career.