Pitt vs. Clemson Preview
Kevin Wheeler, Sports Director
The Pittsburgh Panthers don’t look like the Pitt basketball teams that we have become so accustomed to seeing year in and year out.
This team is weak defensively, on the boards, and they struggle to put points on the board on offense with a lineup riddled with mediocre shooters.
But Pitt still sits at 11-4 this season, which isn’t terrible when all things are considered. The Panthers escaped with a win over Boston College a few nights ago. A win is a win, no matter how you get it. So, I think the win will help to build Pitt’s confidence early on in the ACC schedule, especially coming home to face off with a sub-par Clemson team.
The Panthers will struggle on defense at times, but their talent is better than Clemson’s. Pitt will pull out a hard-fought victory over the Tigers, but it won’t be because of their defense, which has been nearly non-existent all season long. Pitt will hit shots when they count most, and their talent level alone will elevate them to a 12-4 record after Saturday’s game.
Pitt 69, Clemson 62
By: Tyler Turner, Sports Staff
Saturdays game against Clemson is the start of a make or break stretch for the Pitt Panthers. Pitt has to face six straight ACC oppoents including away at Duke and home against Notre Dame. As we all witnessed a few nights ago, Pitt struggled against a horrible Boston College team that went 8-24 last year and 4-14 in the ACC. Tuesdays game against BC should be foreshadowing for what to expect for Pitt against weaker conference teams this year.
Clemson comes into this contest at 8-6, while Pitt has an 11-4 record. Don’t let that fool you because Pitt has played a weak schedule up to this point, having to take teams like Oakland to overtime to barely pull off the win. Similarly, Clemson has had a rough start to the season losing to Winthrop and Gardner-Webb. The Tigers are struggling tremendously on offense, ranking 265th in points per game. On the defensive side of the ball Clemson excels at blocking with 5.4 blocks a game, which is good enough for 27th in the nation.
Pitt loves to share the ball, which has paid dividends this year. The Panthers rank number 33 in all of college basketball with 15.8 assists per game. James Robinson has been one of a few highlights this season averaging 4.7 assists per game and 11.1 points per game. Michael Young has continued to play well leading the Panthers with 13.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game; however the spark this season has been Josh Newkirk. Although his stats don’t wow anyone, he shines in the big moments as we saw against BC when he hit the game winner in OT.
If Pitt can move the ball around and play better on defense they should be able to beat Clemson. If Pitt can’t beat the teams at the lower half of the ACC, then they’ll have no chance against teams like Duke and North Carolina. Pitt can’t go through long stretches of not scoring or give up long runs by the other team. Pitt should win this game; however as we all know to well, Pitt fans never know what to expect.
Pitt 62, Clemson 59