After a stunning upset in Chapel Hill against the North Carolina Tar Heels, the Pitt Panthers returned to the Petersen Events Center facing last-place Georgia Tech.
It was night and day for Pitt. The team lost 68-62 and looks to rebound Tuesday hosting Miami.
Here are five things to know ahead of Pitt’s (11-17, 6-11 ACC) second to last home game against the Miami Hurricanes (19-8, 11-5).
Riding high on a three-game winning streak, Pitt continued its up and down season by losing to the conference’s 15th seeded team in the overall standings. Georgia Tech was only 3-13 entering the contest but jumped out to an early lead and nine-point advantage at halftime. The Panthers may have overlooked the Yellow Jackets with Miami and Duke, two tournament-bound teams, on the horizon.
The Yellow Jackets played a smarter and cleaner game, making 46% of shots and 10-of-11 free throws in the 68-62 road win. Michael Devoe was a major factor in handing Pitt the loss but scoring over his 18.5-point average to chip in a team-high 22 points. The Panthers fell victim to 15 turnovers and were outplaced 17-4 on the fast break. Georgia Tech tried to speed the game up at times and not allow Pitt to settle into its defensive sets.
Mouhamadou Geuye was extra impressive on the night Pitt celebrated their seniors. Gueye contributed a 27 point and 12 rebounds double-double as the only Panther to play all 40 minutes. The 6-foot-9 forward shot 10-of-15 from the floor including two triples. John Hugley also was efficient recording a double-double of his own while making 7-of-10 field goals. Femi Odukale and Jamarius Burton combined for 7 total points on 1-of-14 shooting helped out by four free throws on six attempts.
Highs and Lows
Entering the night with confidence and the enjoyment of honoring the senior class, the Panthers played with fire early on and were burnt. In what was a very winnable game, Pitt received lackluster performances from Odukale and Burton which has become uncharacteristic the past few weeks. The game continues the theme of ups and downs, highs and lows, and an improving team taking a slight step back.
Pitt enters Tuesday night tied for the 93rd best offensive rebounding team, the only category ranking in college basketball’s top 100. Despite being tough and scrappy, the Panthers are tied for 269th in defensive rating (104.9) and tied for 288th on the offensive side (98.5). The team also does not record very many steals, recording 5.2 per game compared to 8.5 for Miami.
Now 11th in the ACC, it is important for Pitt to find consistency throughout the game to take down a skilled Miami team. With the top two teams on tap to finish out the regular season in Duke and Notre Dame, a victory against the Hurricanes is a good stepping stone into the ACC Tournament. Pitt could see Miami again in the near future depending on how the final conference standings conclude and be a test for a later date.
The Miami Hurricanes are balanced in taking care of the ball and stealing it away from the opposition. Tied for 32nd in college for steals (8.5) and tied for fifth in turnovers (9.5) the Hurricanes provide a tough test in crunch time. They also shot well overall, tied for 44th at 46.9% from the floor. Pitt, on the other hand, shoots 41.4% and floats near the 300s of overall rankings.
Miami has struggled against Virginia, dropping its second straight this season to the Cavaliers on Saturday. A 74-71 defeat at home, the team outperformed Virginia in fast break points, steals, turnovers, and made more field goals. Miami was also leading 38-30 at halftime. Virginia improved significantly on offense at a 62.5% clip shooting while Miami finished under 40% and lost the lead.
Kameron McGusty scored 20 points and leads the team with 17.7 points per game while second in rebounding (5.2). Isaiah Wong averages just over 15.5 points and Charlie Moore scores 12.4 points per game. Jordan Miller is the leading rebounder averaging 5.8 per contest while chipping in nine points as well. Miami is top-heavy with Moore, Wong, and especially McGusty but has three options to choose from who can score and contribute in the clutch.
Miami is favored by 4 points on the road in Tuesday’s latest odds.
Pitt is 15-13 against the spread and was on the favorable end during the three-game winning streak but on the opposite side against Georgia Tech. The Panthers are 10-5 when at least four-point underdogs.
The over/under for the game is set at 136.5 points and Pitt is +155 on the money line.
Miami has covered 13 times in 27 opportunities but is 1-7-1 when at least four-point favorites. The Hurricanes are -190 on the money line.
Broadcast, Radio Info
The Miami and Pitt matchup will air on the ACC Network Tuesday at 8 p.m. Dave O’Brien and Cory Alexander will call the game.
93.7 The Fan has coverage of the Panthers radio broadcast.
Pitt hosts Duke to begin March on the first of the month at 8 p.m. to conclude the regular season home schedule.