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Pitt vs. Virginia: Open Gamethread

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Riding high off of the North Carolina win on Saturday, Pitt didn't have much time to celebrate, traveling to Virginia for tonight's game.

As I wrote after the game against the Tar Heels, the team is playing better lately and in their past five games, has been mostly impressive. The Panthers face their third straight Top 15 team tonight in the Cavaliers and fortunately, things get a little easier from here on out.

But for now, Pitt faces another heavyweight in Virginia.

Overall, Virginia is 23-1 and has done it with a formula pretty familiar to Pitt fans - rebounding and defense. The Cavaliers are solid on the boards (ranking 49th in the nation as of this weekend), but it's their defense that stands out. The 50.9 points they give up at that end is No. 1 in the country, so it's safe to say that you shouldn't expect Pitt to score anywhere near the 89 they did against the Tar Heels. That, of course, was already an exception but facing the Cavaliers top-ranked defense means points should be hard to come by - even if the offense is improved.

The Cavaliers have been extremely difficult to beat this season, but have shown some minor signs of wear lately. The team suffered its first loss of the year against Duke a few weeks ago and while they've got numerous quality wins, they've been a little hard to figure out at times against some weaker teams.

On Saturday, they eeked out a one-point win against Wake Forest. Before that, they beat North Carolina State by only four. Just before the Duke loss, Virginia nearly lost to Virginia Tech. Granted, those are all teams that defeated Pitt, but the point is that they've had some close calls against lesser foes.

This is still going to be a very difficult one for Pitt to win, obviously. But it's worth pointing out that some of their recent games against weaker teams has proven they're not completely invincible.

I won't be around tonight, but stop by to comment live during the game on ESPN at 7:00 p.m.

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