Bobby Sable, Staff
I think there is little doubt that the offense of this Pitt Panthers team is their strength but when in their most recent game they had a stretch of 10 minutes without a field goal it’s pretty safe to say they are no offensive juggernaut. On the flipside, North Carolina just might be. It starts with Marcus Paige and Kennedy Meeks, but this is a full team effort. The Tar Heels rack up 17 assists per game while scoring 79 points, good for seventh and 16th in the country respectively. The Panthers should fight valiantly in this one but if it takes courage to play the game you’re probably overmatched.
North Carolina 75, Pitt 62
Tyler Turner, Staff
If Pitt wants any chance to make the NCAA tournament they must beat UNC. Time is slipping away for Jamie Dixon and Pitt, as they’ve dug themselves in a whole that is almost filled. Had Pitt beaten teams like VT and Hawaii, I’d say this wasn’t a must win; however Pitt didn’t win those games, making these last 7 games crucial.
UNC will be no easy task. The Tar Heels rank 2nd in the nation in offensive rebounding per game with a whopping 42.8 rpg. Speaking of offense UNC’s leading scorer, Marcus Paige, will be hard to stop. Paige averages 14.2 ppg and shoots 38.6% from beyond the arch. That being said Pitt was able to handle Jerian Grant of ND for 35 minutes in their 76-72 win. If Pitt can keep Paige under control they can win this game.
For the past few games one person has stepped up to the plate and pushed this Pitt team to victory. Last weekend it was Sheldon Jeter, and against Bryant it was Jamel Artis. For Pitt to upset UNC they will need bench support and the starters will have to be on their A game. This week I look at Mike Lecak to have a huge game off the bench. We saw a glimpse of Lecak against Louisville on Wednesday, but on Saturday expect big things. I see Mike hitting a few threes and feeding off the Oakland Zoo.
Pitt will make it interesting as they always do; however the panthers will win this game. Pitt will finally make their free throws, Artis will be strong, and Mike Lecak will come out firing scoring 18 off the bench in route to a huge win.
Pitt 79, UNC 74