The road doesn’t get any easier for the Virginia Tech basketball team. They’ll head north to take on #22 Pitt, who has proven to be one of the best teams in the ACC this season.
The Panthers are 19-4 on the year, and three of their losses have been very close…
44-43 to #7 Cincinnati
59-54 to #1 Syracuse
48-45 to ##21 UVA
Pitt’s fourth loss came at the hands of #11 Duke. Overall, this is a basketball team that is just a few shots away from being ranked in the top ten and competing for a #1 seed. Along with Syracuse, they have made a big impression in their first year in the ACC.
Meanwhile, the Hokies have lost nine games in a row and 11 of their last 12. They have dropped four consecutive games by 20 or more points. This is a team that is getting worse as the season goes along, and injuries are making the numerous issues the team faces even worse.
Here’s a look at Pitt’s starting lineup…
G James Robinson (6-3, 200, So.): Robinson leads the country in assist-to-turnover ratio. He has 92 assists and just 20 turnovers through 23 games. He also averages 7.9 points per game.
G Cameron Wright (6-4, 205, r-Jr.): Wright averages 10.3 points per game. He’s a bigger guard who finishes inside, but he’s not a major threat from outside the three-point line.
F Lamar Patterson (6-5, 225, r-Sr.): Patterson is one of the nation’s best players. He averaged 17.7 points per game, and 18.8 in ACC games. He’s a 43% three-point shooter, and he also has 102 assists on the season. Not only is he a great scorer, but he also makes everyone around him better.
F Michael Young (6-8, 245, Fr.): Young averages 22 minutes per game as a freshman while scoring 5.9 points and grabbing 4.9 rebounds. He is the typical big Pitt power forward.
C Talib Zanna (6-9, 230, r-Jr.): Zanna averages 12.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He has seven double-doubles on the season, and he’s averaging 13.9 points per game in ACC play.
Not only is Pitt talented, but they are experienced and tough. Three of those starters have redshirted. The Panthers start a fifth-year senior and a pair of fourth-year juniors. Jamie Dixon is one of the top coaches in the country, and he has his team headed towards the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in 11 seasons.
Let’s have our usual comparison of efficiency ratings…
Pitt: #16 in offensive efficiency, #20 in defensive efficiency
VT: #253 in offensive efficiency, #179 in defensive efficiency
Virginia Tech’s numbers are terrible, and they are rapidly getting worse. Meanwhile, Pitt is one of the most balanced teams in the country. On paper, this game is a complete mismatch.