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Pitt Basketball: Pitt Vs. Providence Preview

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Time for a much-needed respite from Mike Haywood and Pitt football for a while.

After a nice break, Pitt hoops is back with a game against the Providence Friars.

The Friars are off to a surprisingly good 11-4 start. That start looked even better two games ago when they were 11-2. But since, they've dropped two conference games to Syracuse and St. John's. Same old story with Providence, right? Well maybe not.

They played respectably on the road at Syracuse, losing by only seven and while they dropped a home game to St. John's, it was only by two points. Combine Providence's solid play with the fact that the last time Pitt played at Providence they lost, and you could have a pretty good game on Tuesday.

And for the record, Providence also gave Pitt a good game last season at the Pete. They basically had Pitt beat until Ashton Gibbs went all NBA-three pointer on them and won the game at the buzzer. This year's Providence team doesn't have Jamine Peterson, who went off in that game with 24 points and 18 rebounds, but they do have a trio of pretty good players.

The Friars are led by Marshon Brooks, who is third in the conference in scoring with 23 points per game and also averages 8.4 rebounds per game. He's joined by guard Vincent Council who averages 15.5 ppg and with big man Bilal Dixon (7 ppg and 9 rpg), they have a solid inside outside game. But Providence is more than a three-man show. Along with Pitt, they're one of the deeper teams in the conference. Ten players average at least five minutes per game and all over those players have appeared in at least 12 of the team's games.

The Friars are also a strong rebounding team ranking 17th in the nation with more than 41 rebounds per game, so Pitt may not be able to gain a huge edge on the glass.

It's hard to figure out just how good Providence might be. They haven't beaten anyone of note - their best win probably came against Rhode Island. They also lost to LaSalle. Despite the loss of Peterson and Sharaud Curry, they look better than last year's 12-19 team, but that's really about all we know.

Playing on the road I expect this to be a pretty tight game, but Pitt should prevail.