Pitt had a little more trouble with South Florida than expected.
I mentioned over the in game preview at SB Nation Pittsburgh that this was a hard game for me to get up for. It was in the middle of the week against a bad team and wasn't even on TV to boot.
Looks like the Panthers also had trouble getting interested as well.
Not sure if it was just me, but Pitt really looked like they weren't all that into the game. Part of that was probably due to the fact that the crowd just seemed out of it. I was shocked when they showed some of the background shots as the arena actually looked pretty full when I saw it. But the place seemed quiet a lot of times and the team didn't have the benefit of a rowdy arena. The sense of urgency wasn't there and, truthfully, I can understand that to a degree. You've got to bring it every night, but that's not always the easiest thing to do.
Four players got into double figures and we even had a Talib Zanna sighting for the first time in a while. The redshirt freshman had 11 points in 15 minutes of action, marking his first good game since the Seton Hall game a month back. I'll have more on this in a separate post, though.
Anyway, Pitt continued their woeful three-point shooting since Gibbs has been out and went only 2-8 tonight. Over those games, Pitt is only 4-24 during that stretch. That's been such a strength for the team this year and I expect they'll regain their form once Gibbs gets back. He forces defenders to key in on him and that will in turn create some more space for other shooters. Pitt has flat out missed a bunch of open looks over these past three games, but adding Gibbs and his 46% shooting from that range will obviously be a step up.
The good news is that Gibbs looks like he'll return Saturday and he'll have five games to get back into form before the Big East tournament.