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Five Things to Know Before Pitt vs. Florida State



Pitt men's basketball updated the 2023-24 roster numbers and added on a new walk-on to the program, the team announced Wednesday.

The Panthers have won four games in a row since losing to Florida State by seven points at home Jan. 21. Pitt gets a second shot at FSU Saturday, this time on the road in Tallahassee, Florida to begin the ACC slate of games.

Here are five things to know ahead of the Pitt’s (17-7, 10-3 ACC) matchup against the Florida State Seminoles (8-17, 6-8 ACC). 

Defensive Pressure

The Panthers scored 64 points in their last loss and shot 43% from the floor. Florida State led 39-29 at halftime before Pitt cut the deficit and grabbed the advantage. The Seminoles shot 53.6% in the first half and 7-of-12 (58%) from three to earn the 10-point differential. 

“Our transition defense needs to be a lot better,” head coach Jeff Capel said. “Our individual one-on-one defense, keeping them out of the paint, that has to be a lot better than it was the last time. We have to have consistent ball movement. I thought we did the first six minutes of the game and the first six, seven minutes of the second half. After that, I thought we became a little bit stagnant.”

Capel’s team responded in the second half but could not seal the deal. Winning close games has been in the Panthers’ DNA in three of the last four games, defeating Wake Forest (81-79), Miami (71-68), and North Carolina (65-64) each by one possession. A win would tie the program record for most ACC wins in a season (11), tied with Pitt’s debut conference team in 2013-14.

MAJOR Praise From Payne

Louisville head coach Kenny Payne praised Pitt more than nearly any coach has in potentially the last decade after losing to the Panthers for a second time. Payne said he tried to warn his team about the quality opponent the Cardinals were facing but a 91-57 Pitt victory became the result.

“We’ve played a lot of good teams in this conference, but guys I am just here to tell you that probably the most complete, the toughest team that we have played in this conference is Pittsburgh,” Payne said. “Tough, fight, can score, can score a multitude of ways. They share, they share the ball. They talk on defense. When one guy is down, I hear four others talking to that one that’s down.”

Pitt defeated Louisville by 21 points in the first meeting this year, winning in Louisville for the first time since 2005-06. Nike Sibande paced the Panthers with a team-high 15 points in the win Tuesday. Greg Elliott (14), Nelly Cummings (11), Guillermo Diaz Graham (11), and Blake Hinson (11) all scored in double figures.

Scouting the Seminoles

Florida State has fallen in the opposite direction as the Panthers since the previous meeting. The Seminoles have lost four of their last five, only defeating Louisville by three points on the road last Saturday. Florida State has dealt with a ton of injuries including the loss of forward Cam’Ron Fletcher (10.8 ppg) in December and graduate student Jaylan Gainey to a knee injury before the season. 

“They don’t have the depth that they normally have. They normally play 11-12 guys. They’re not doing that,” Capel said. “They have some guys that are like top 10 minutes played. I don’t think it’s been that way since I’ve been here. Scottie Barnes came off the bench.” 

Darin Green scored a team-best 24 points in the first matchup. The Seminoles are 4-6 in their last 10 games and average 70 points per game. They only average 28.6 rebounds per game and are not the same Seminoles team racking up loads of rebounds compared to Pitt’s 34.2 average, tied for 58th in college basketball.

Spread, Over/Under

Pitt is favored by 4,5 points in Saturday’s latest odds, according to DraftKings Sportsbook

The Panthers are 17-6-1 ATS this year, according to Pitt is the ACC’s best team covering the spread and covered the last three games against Miami, North Carolina and Louisville. Florida State is 11-14 ATS and the over has been reached in 13 of 24 opportunities. 

The over/under for the game is set at 144.5 points. Pitt is -195 on the money line while Florida State sits at +165. The Panthers are 14-10 in opportunities to hit the over. 

Broadcast, Radio Info

The Pitt-Florida State matchup will air on the ACC Network beginning at 7 p.m. Wes Durham and Dan Bonner have the call from Tallahassee. The game will also be broadcast live on sports radio 93.7 The Fan as Pitt looks to tie the program record for ACC wins (11)

Pitt returns home Tuesday night hosting Boston College at 9 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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