We're in that part of the year where we'll be doing some double duty with Pitt basketball and football going on at the same time. That might sound like extreme fun to you, but for bloggers ... well, let's just say it's a bit of a grind. Before you think our coverage of either sport is going to drop off, I assure you it won't. But our basketball coverage in terms of doing actual game previews is going to likely be a bit limited until we get football out of the way.
Plus ... how much can you preview the likes of some of the teams on Pitt's non-conference schedule, anyway?
Pitt's season gets underway on Friday (right before a football game, no less) against Mount St. Mary's. Frankly, this shouldn't be a terribly tough game for Pitt to win. But there are a few things to watch for.
Individually, the intriguing thing is how Steven Adams and James Robinson fit into the starting lineup (assuming they stay there following the preseason games where they started). Both clearly have skill, but are a bit raw as true freshmen. Pitt should be hoping to get different things out of the two. For Robinson, it's about running the offense, taking care of the ball, and playing good defense. Any scoring above a minimal effort is really secondary.
From Adams, Pitt needs defense and rebounding. He'll be relied upon to score a bit more than Robinson because he's such as highly touted recruit. But the Panthers are really going to benefit from his ability to keep opposing players out of the paint as well as his ability to clean up on the glass.
So, yeah, what about the other team? Mount St. Mary's wasn't real good last year - that's putting it nicely. They were only 8-21 on the season and ranked near the bottom of college basketball in scoring, rebounding, and assists. The team is led by Julian Norfleet, who led the team in scoring last year. A slow start against them wouldn't be out of the question since Pitt did just that against IUP in their first exhibition game. But by the end of the game, it would be surprising if Pitt didn't have a pretty comfortable lead.
The game is on ESPN3 and helping to call the action will again be Pirates announcer Tim Neverett.