Pitt vs. FSU Preview
Alex Dittmar, Sports Staff
Coming off a loss at home against Clemson, Pitt looks to rebound against Florida State on Wednesday. Florida State is coming off a loss of their own; on the road against Syracuse.
Coming in, the big difference maker is size. The Seminoles come in with 3 players over 7-feet tall, plus 6’7” guard Montay Brandon who is a rebounding machine. One of Pitt’s biggest problems is handling size down low and protecting the rim, something Florida State does well, evidenced by an offense ranked 131st in points per game, but 40th in field goal percentage.
Pitt struggled against Boston College in the same way, but this Florida State team is a little more talented all around. On the other side, Pitt stands a chance as Florida State boasts one of the worst defenses in college basketball, ranking 235th in points allowed. If Pitt is able to move the ball effectively (one of the few bright spots on the team is a 32nd ranked assist per game number), they could put a dent in Florida State.
However, considering the way Pitt has played recently, I don’t think that will be enough.
Florida State 72, Pitt 65
Tyler Turner, Sports Staff
After another disappointing loss to a 9-6 Clemson team, Pitt will look to get back on track. Pitt and Jamie Dixon pride themselves on suffocating team defense; however this year they let lower tier teams like Oakland score too many points. This Pitt team is in dire need of a big man who can play on the low post because Joseph Uchebo has not panned out this year. The Panthers are atrocious at a simple part of the game: defensive rebounding. As a team they are ranked 307th in the nation. This year, it seems like Pitt is a more finesse team, a style that is obviously not working.
Florida State is coming into the contest at 9-7, so solely based on records, Pitt should win; however we all know it’s never that easy. FSU shoots the ball extremely well, shooting a team field goal percentage of 47.3%, which is good enough for 41st in college basketball this year. One of FSU’s best players, Aaron Thomas, leads the team with 14.8 points per game. If Pitt’s guards can shut Thomas down, Pitt should be able to pull through.
It may be too early to say this is a must win for Pitt, but lose the next few games and Pitt’s season is over. Jamie Dixon needs to start a fire in the locker room to ignite these player’s spirits. If Pitt loses I predict they will not make the NCAA tournament and won’t win more than 18 games. If this team can pull off the victory, Pitt must get rolling and beat these weak ACC opponents because come 1 or 2 weeks when you’re playing Duke, UNC and Louisville you have to play at an all star level to win.
I will choose Pitt to win this game, hoping that Michael Young will take over this game. We, as Pitt fans, know how good he is and how great he can be. With Newkirk playing well and Robinson usually distributing the ball effectively, I look for Pitt to win closely. If Pitt loses tonight Jamie Dixon needs to look to the bench for some life, and we all know who can provide it: Joshua Ko.
Pitt 67, Florida State 63
Kevin Wheeler, Sports Director
This contest displays two lowly ACC teams that have had their fair share of struggles to start the 2014-2015 season. The Pittsburgh Panthers (11-5, 1-2 ACC) and Florida State Seminoles (9-7, 1-2 ACC) come into this game jostling for eighth place in the conference standings.
The issue I find with the Panthers this season is effort. There are many issues that this basketball team has, but it is difficult to tell if Pitt has the capability to play a full 40 minutes.
It’s simple: Pitt plays better and wins games when they play aggressively on defense and on the boards. The Panthers rebounding this season has been abysmal, averaging a measly 21 total boards per game. The Seminoles enter this game averaging 14 more rebounds per game than Pitt, and sport a much bigger front line led by 7-1 center Michael Ojo. The solution? Pitt must play much bigger than they are, with five men crashing the glass for 40 minutes.
If Pitt can do that, they may be able to control the tempo of this ball game.
But, I do not think they will.
Pitt lacks the fire power to score efficiently on offense and plays lackadaisical defense. If a basketball team is weak on both sides of the ball, especially against size, then it’s pretty likely that team won’t win many games.
Dixon’s decision to allow Joe Uchebo, Derrick Randall and Aron Nwanko log more minutes will not pay off on the defensive end. The Panthers will ultimately fall to the Seminoles in a hard-fought battle.
Florida State 71, Pitt 65