Pitt takes a trip to the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday to face Louisville. The Panthers have struggled against Louisville a bit recently and even though the arena has a crazy name, it's not been a good place for visitors this season.
Louisville is 17-2 at home this year and even worse, the team is undefeated against Big East teams. The Cardinals' last home loss was to Kentucky...last year. Okay, so it was December 31st, but you get the picture. Their home court has been to them what the Pete has been to Pitt this season.
The Cardinals don't have that one great star, but Rick Pitino has still done a heck of a job with a 21-7 record. Among their big wins are two victories against UConn and wins over Syracuse, and St. John's. Louisville, though, is only a few baskets from perhaps being a bubble team. They've won lots of close games this year and have beaten Marquette, West Virginia, UConn, DePaul, and Syracuse by a total of 11 points.
It's still hard for me to think about Louisville without thinking about Nasir Robinson. Nasir, of course, had a breakout game last season, scoring a career-high 26 points in Pitt's overtime win.
But when I think of Louisville, I also remember them as a team that gives Pitt fits. The Panthers are only 3-3 against them over the past four seasons. Furthermore, two of Pitt's wins have come from overtime games. No getting around it - Pitt could have a lot of trouble on Sunday.
Another thing to 'worry' about is Louisville's defense. The Cardinals have been up and down defensively a bit, but they've kept opponents under 50 points five times this season and on two occasions, under 40. One of those games came Tuesday when they held Rutgers to only 37 points. No, that's not a typo, and that game was also at the RAC. Pitt is, of course, a better team than Rutgers. But they've struggled offensively a bit and if Louisville's press is working, they could have some issues.
This game really concerns me - it has all the makings of a classic Pitt debacle. Road game against a team they've struggled against. Obviously, it wouldn't surprise me to see Pitt win, but I've had this one circled for a while as a potential loss. When it comes to getting a No. 1 seed, every game left counts.
And Pitt needs this one.
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