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Pitt Basketball

Five Things to Know Before No. 5 Pitt vs. No. 13 Georgia Tech in ACC Tournament



GREENSBORO – The ACC Tournament from Greensboro, North Carolina, is officially underway. Florida State, Louisville, and Notre Dame were all eliminated on day 1 of the 2023 conference tournament as Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Virginia Tech moved on to Wednesday action. The highest seed playing on Wednesday, No. 5 Pitt faces No. 13 Georgia Tech following the Yellow Jackets’ 61-60 come-from-behind win.

Here are five things to know ahead of the No. 5 Pitt Panthers matchup against the No. 13 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Players Only

Following back-to-back losses and failing to clinch a share of the ACC regular-season title against Notre Dame or Miami, Pitt players checked in on each other and gauged the emotions at the moment. The Panthers’ roster was brought together by First Team All-ACC guard Jamarius Burton.

“JB is the one who called it,” guard Blake Hinson said. “I think it was the right thing to do. Once he broke it off, everybody said their own thing. It was really only about ‘okay, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do, what we felt like we needed to do. But, there are other things we need to do ahead of time.” 

Burton previously played for Wichita State and Texas Tech before arriving at Pitt for his final two seasons of college ball, understanding the stakes and what it takes to continue positively on the journey.

“I just felt like it’s easy for us to hang our heads after two tough losses. We knew the stakes,” Burton said. “We had an opportunity to have a share of the conference regular season title. We all wanted that. It was in our fingertips. I didn’t want anybody to be dismayed by the outcome. We still have a tremendous opportunity in the tournament. We just want to have our best foot forward moving forward.”

Three Times a Charm

The Panthers have faced and defeated Georgia Tech twice this season, first on the road and then at home. Pitt defeated the Yellow Jackets 77-60 in Atlanta on Jan. 14 as Nike Sibande scored a team-high 21 points in 35 minutes off the bench. Jeff Capel’s team followed it up with a 76-68 victory in the second-to-last home game of the season on Feb. 21. Nelly Cummings scored 22 points and added six rebounds and seven assists. 

Both times Pitt faced Georgia Tech it was coming off of a loss. First snapping a two-game losing streak brought on by Clemson and Duke then bouncing back from a 79-72 loss at Virginia Tech. The last time Pitt defeated a team three times in the same year was 2015-16, sweeping Syracuse during the regular season and winning 72-71 in the ACC Tournament. That season also marked the last time Pitt clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament. 

Award Season

The Panthers were honored with numerous awards Monday night before the beginning of the tourney. Jeff Capel was named ACC Coach of the Year and has also been named a finalist for the Ben Jobe Award and Phelan National Coach of the Year. Pitt projected as a No. 14 seed in the ACC preseason poll and finished 21-10 overall and 14-6 in the conference following a 6-14 showing last season.

Multiple Pitt players were honored as well. Nike Sibande was awarded ACC Sixth Man of the Year. Sibande averaged 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 31 games while shooting 42.4% from the floor. Jamarius Burton (First Team) and Blake Hinson (Second Team) were both named to All-ACC Teams while Burton and Capel were also honored by the AP. Burton averaged 15.6 points and 4.9 rebounds; Hinson paced the Panthers in points (16.1) and rebounds (6.3) in all 31 games.

Spread, Over/Under

Pitt is favored by 7 points in Wednesday’s latest odds, according to DraftKings Sportsbook

The Panthers are 21-9-1 ATS this year, according to Pitt is by far the ACC’s best team covering the spread and the second-best overall in the county. The Panthers are 2-3 ATS over their last five games. The Yellow Jackets are 16-14 ATS.

The over/under for the game is set at 139.5 points. Pitt is -315 on the moneyline while Georgia Tech sits at +260. The Panthers are 19-12 in opportunities to hit the over. 

Broadcast, Radio Info

The Pitt-Georgia Tech matchup will air on ESPN beginning at 2:30 p.m. Wes Durham and Cory Alexander have the call from the Greensboro Coliseum. The game will also be broadcast live on sports radio 93.7 The Fan.

The winner of today’s game will face No. 4 Duke at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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