Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh
Virginia Tech (14-10, 5-8) will hope to break a five-game losing streak when Pitt (15-10, 6-8) comes to Cassell Coliseum for a Saturday evening game. Both teams are close in the conference standings, and this game could have ACC Tournament seeding ramifications.
Pitt began the season with an impressive win against No. 18 (Ken Pomeroy ratings) Florida State, and they also knocked off No. 33 Rutgers in the non-conference portion of their schedule. However, since the calendar flipped to 2020, the Panthers’ best win has come at home against No. 78 Georgia Tech. They have just two road wins on the season – way back on November 12 against Robert Morris, and on January 8 at North Carolina.
The Panthers have had a habit of following up a good win with a bad loss. After their season-opening win against Florida State, they were defeated at home by Nicholls State. After their February 8 victory over Georgia Tech, they were flattened at home by Clemson 72-52.
Pitt ranks No. 109 in adjusted offensive efficiency, and No. 94 in adjusted defensive efficiency. Here are some statistics that stand out…
Bad shooters: Pitt ranks No. 322 in effective field goal percentage, No. 306 in 3-point percentage, and No. 298 in 2-point percentage.
Tough defenders: Pitt’s opponents turn the ball over at a whopping 23.7% rate, which is good for 15th nationally.
Bi-Polar Rebounders: Pitt ranks No. 33 nationally in offensive rebounding. However, they rank No. 345 in the country in preventing offensive rebounds.
Here are Pitt’s projected starters under second-year head coach Jeff Capel…
G Xavier Johnson (6-3, 200, So.): 11.8 ppg, 5.2 apg.
G Trey McGowens (6-4, 190, So.): 12.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg.
G/F Justin Champagnie (6-6, 200, Fr.): 12.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg.
G/F Au’Diese Toney (6-6, 210, So.): 8.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg.
F/C Terrell Brown (6-10, 235, Jr.): 5.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg.
Pitt has good guards and wings, though the one thing that stands out is that they shoot the ball too much from the outside. Here are the numbers for their backcourt…
Johnson: 24-of-72 (33.3%)
McGowens: 32-of-109 (29.4%)
Champagnie: 25-of-88 (28.4%)
As a team, Pitt shoots just 30.3% from behind the arc. This is also a team that lacks quality depth. The Panther bench ranks No. 321 nationally in bench minutes. They also rank only No. 312 in terms of experience, so they don’t hold a huge edge over the Hokies (No. 350) in that regard.
Because of Pitt’s lack of depth, the fact that they don’t have great experience, and their lack of shooting ability from the outside, this is a prime opportunity for the Hokies to break their losing streak and get back in the win column.