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Five Things to Know Before No. 11 Pitt vs. No. 3 Xavier in the NCAA Tournament



GREENSBORO, N.C. – Pitt looks to depart Greensboro with a complete 180 of its last result in the ACC Tournament and continue playing meaningful basketball in March. The Panthers defeated Mississippi State in the First Four and Iowa State in the Round of 64, advancing to the Second Round of March Madness.

Here are five things to know ahead of the No. 11 Pitt’s tournament game against the No. 3 Xavier Musketeers.

Hello, Old Friend

It will be a bittersweet afternoon for Xavier head coach Sean Miller, facing his aluma matter and former program with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line. 

It was a big deal when Sean went to Pitt,” head coach Capel said. “He was a four-year starter. Really, really good player. Got the assist on the most famous play ever at the University of Pittsburgh and one of the greatest plays ever in college basketball history. He is a Pitt man. He has been an outstanding coach.”

Miller – in the first year of his second stint at Xavier – played for the Panthers from 1987-92. A Beaver County native and Blackhawk alum, Miller delivered one of the most iconic passes in Panther history to Jerome Lane to complete the famous play: “Send it in Jerome!” Miller never really got close to returning to Pitt at any point to coach. 

“It never worked out,” Miller said. “You know, I think for me that’s all the better because in some ways I want my memories of Pitt to be when I was there as a student, as a player.”

1,500-Point Club

During the Panthers’ 18-point win against Iowa State, Nelly Cummings and Jamarius Burton both surpassed the 1,500-point plateau. 

“To be honest, I didn’t really know about it until after the game,” Cummings said. “It’s definitely a milestone that one day I’ll be able to look back and appreciate.”

Cummings has scored 392 points in his lone season at Pitt following three years at Colgate and one season for Bowling Green. Pitt is also Burton’s third team, owning 875 Panther points. 

“It never was a goal of mine,” Burton said. “I credit everybody that was a part of it. From managers, to the coaching staff, and mentors. There’s been a lot of people that have helped me through my college career.”


Pitt and Xavier are two of the top three-point shooting teams in the country. The Panthers rank 30th in the country in three-point field goals (9.1) and shoot 36.1% behind the arc. On the opposite side, The Musketeers make 7.4 per game and are fourth in the country at 39.1%. 

A fast-paced offense scoring over 81 points per game, Xavier is also fourth in the country in field-goal percentage at 49.4%. Pitt does own the advantage at the free-throw line (76.2-71.5%) and averages 75.2 points per contest.


The Pitt-Xavier Spread is set at Xavier (-5) per DraftKings Sportsbook. 

The over/under is hovering around 149 total points. Pitt’s individual team over/under is set at 72.5. 

According to Team Rankings, Pitt ranks as the No. 2 team in the nation against the spread, with a 24-10-1 record (70.6%). 

Xavier is 18-16-1 ATS this season (52.9%).


The matchup will tip off at 12:10 p.m. on CBS, with Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel and Evan Washburn on the call. 

93.7 The Fan will have coverage throughout the game in Pittsburgh. 

Following the matchup, No. 6 Kentucky and No. 3 Kansas State will matchup at 2:40 p.m. on CBS.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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