Pitt vs. Miami Preview
Kevin Wheeler, Sports Director
Pitt all but ruined their NCAA Tournament chances on Sunday with their 69-66 loss to a lowly Wake Forest team. But the Panthers still have a slight chance. It all depends on whch Pitt basketball team shows up over the next two weeks.
The first test comes Wednesday against Miami (FL), a team that Pitt is battling for an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament. We will know what the result of this game will be within the first five minutes of the game. Pay attention to the way Pitt plays at the start of the game. If we see them playing stagnant, standing around on offense, waiting for someone to bail them out of a wasted shot clock, and playing slow on defense like they have many teams this year, then Pitt is in big trouble. If we see them playing active on defense, especially on the perimeter, and hustling for rebounds, along with lots of movement on the offensive end and shooting the basketball with confidence, then Pitt will be just fine.
Two Miami starters, guards Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez, who combine for 27 points per game for the Hurricanes, will sit out of tonight’s game with injuries. That’s a big advantage for Pitt. Their perimeter defense won’t have to deal with as many problems compared to what they would face with these electric guards on the floor penetrating the smallish Pitt front line. But the Hurricanes still have two 7-footers, Ivan Cruz Uceda and Tonye Jekiri, that will give Mike Young, Joe Uchebo and Derrick Randall fits on the glass.
In the end, I think Pitt pulls out a close one. The Petersen Events Center has been crucial to Pitt’s success this season, and this is an absolute must win game. Pitt will have enough gas to finish this one.
Pitt 77, Miami 71
Joe Rokicki, Assistant Sports Director
The Pitt Panthers (19-11, 8-8 ACC) will host the Miami Hurricanes (18-11, 8-8 ACC) at the Petersen Events Center tomorrow night. Both teams are coming off losses heading into Wednesday night’s match up.
The Panthers dropped another conference road game at Wake Forrest Sunday evening, losing to the Demon Deacons 69-66. The Panthers’ front court dominated much of the game as Michael Young and Jamel Artis scored 22 points and 19 points respectively. These two will have to maintain a steady offensive production in the final two games of the season for the Panthers to have any shot at an NCAA Tournament bid. Also, look for senior guard Cameron Wright to have a big night in his final game at the Pete. Wright recorded 11 points in Sunday’s losing effort.
In their final home game, the Miami Hurricanes fell to #15 North Carolina on Saturday 73-64. The Hurricanes average around 68.5 points per game and are shooting 43.6% from the field – fairly similar numbers compared to the Panthers who average 67.6 points and 44.8% shooting. The Hurricanes are led by leading scorer Sheldon McClellan who is averaging 14.9 points per game.
This game is arguably a must win for both the Panthers and Hurricanes who have gone .500 in their past six and eight games respectively. Both teams are on the bubble, battling for a birth into the NCCA Tournament. Overall, it should be a tight scoring game as both teams are offensively even keeled. Look for Cam Wright and the Panthers to benefit from the Oakland Zoo’s antics one last time on Senior Night and earn a much needed victory.
Tipoff is scheduled for 8 pm. Pregame starts at 7:30 pm on WPTS Radio.
Panthers 81 Hurricanes 79