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Tale of the Tape: Pitt vs. NC State

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Breaking down Pitt's first ACC Tournament matchup with NC State.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

James Robinson 6'3" JR 9.1 P/G   5.1 A/G   3.4 R/G

vs.

Anthony Barber 6'2" SO    11.8 P/G  3.8 A/G   3.3 R/G

James Robinson had eight points, nine rebounds, and four assists in the loss to Florida State on Saturday.  It wasn't a great performance, and it marked the sixth straight game Robinson failed to hit double figures.  Robinson takes a lot of heat being the team's point guard, and he is not the perfect point guard, but a lot of his criticism is a little misguided. Robinson is logging a ton of minutes (39 last game) and he is drawing the team's top offensive player a good bit on defense.  He is tasked with a lot of responsibility and does not have a viable option behind him. A game against NC State can be trouble, because they have three quality guards, and it will be another game Robinson won't be able to come off the floor.

Anthony "Cat" Barber has been playing fairly well down the stretch, and has upped his scoring average and minutes from his freshman season. The speedy point guard can be streaky on offense, and he is prone to turnovers. Just last week Barber committed seven turnovers against Clemson.  His speed and quickness can be a tough match for the Panthers, but sometimes he can be too quick for his own good and make poor decisions. He only had 9 points in the first meeting, and was not a big factor.

Cameron Wright 6'5" SR   8.8  P/G   3  A/G   2.9 R/G

vs.

Trevor Lacey 6'3" JR    16.1  P/G   4.5  R/G  3.4 A/G

Cameron Wright had a dreadful two-point game on a 1-6 shooting day against Florida State. The senior guard broke a three game double digit scoring streak, and didn't do much of anything against the Seminoles.  Wright has had some good assist games lately, but with a foul plague game it seemed tough for him to find a rhythm. Pitt needs Cameron Wright to step up and take charge as a senior. He has shown flashes this year, but inconsistent play has been a big issue with him.  As I mention a lot with him, if he takes good shots within the offense his mid-range jump shot is pretty good.

Trevor Lacey is one of the better shooting guards in the ACC, maybe even the country. The Alabama transfer ultimately chose to play for the NC State over Pitt, and was very close to being a Panther.  Lacey scored in double figures in 17 of the Wolfpack's 18 ACC games this season.  The junior guard is a good outsider shooter as he is hitting 40% of his shots from behind the arc. Lacey is also good enough to get to the rim. He hasn't had any outstanding games of late, but he is always consistent and gets his points nearly every night without fail.

Sheldon Jeter 6'8" SO   4.8 P/G   2.5  R/G

vs.

Ralston Turner 6'5"  SR   13.4 P/G  3.3 R/G

Sheldon Jeter had a rough go at it against Florida State and was held scoreless in 17 minutes of action. The Beaver Falls native only attempted two shots, both three-pointers, and pulled down two rebounds with two blocks.  Obviously it is hard to gauge what Jeter can do on a night to night basis.  Some days he looks like a budding star, and others it looks like he is struggling to find his role on this team.  Pitt needs to get some scoring and rebounding from him tonight, nothing crazy, but positive minutes.

Ralston Turner is NC State's go to outside shooter, and is a very talented guard. He leads the team in thee-pointers made with 84 this season, and has been a consistent outside shooting force in his team seasons in Raleigh.  Turner has played over his season average the past five games, as he is averaging 17.4 during this stretch. Pitt will have a tough time accounting for both Turner and Lacey in this game, and at least one of them will get their scoring.

Jamel Artis 6'7" SO   13.8  P/G   5.9 R/G  2.2 A/G

vs.

Lennard Freeman 6'8" SO   3.2 P/G  5.6 R/G

Jamel Artis was recently named third team All ACC by the coaches, and it capped off a pretty successful sophomore campaign.  Artis has a run of 16 straight double figure games going, and he has become the Panthers go-to-scorer. Truth be told, Artis has been "struggling" lately with turnovers, as he committed 11 of them to just three assists the past three games. Still, even when other parts of his game aren't working, it seems Artis can still put up points.  Pitt will need Artis to have a big scoring game to have any chance of winning tonight.

Lennard Freeman has been part of a revolving door for NC State post players this season. He has been a part time starter for this team, and is mainly in there to rebound.  Freeman's scoring numbers and minutes are down from last season, though his rebounding remains consistent. His minutes can fluctuate, but the Wolfpack have a host of players that can fill this spot.

Michael Young 6'9" SO   13.5 P/G   7.3 R/G

vs.

Abdul-Malik Abu 6'8"  FR   5.9 P/G  4.7 R/G

Mike Young had an off game last Saturday against Florida State and that played a part in the Panthers' loss. Although he was reduced to just eight points and six rebounds, he has been very strong down the stretch and had a string of three games with exactly 22 points in each.  Although Young seems to be out of position, he has held his own offensively at the center spot and has been one of Pitt's most consistent players all year long.  NC State has the advantage with guards in this game, but Pitt holds a pretty big advantage with Artis and Young.

Abdul-Malik Abu has shown flashes in his freshman season, but is still relatively raw as a player. Much like Pitt's Mike Young, Abu is not a traditional center with only a 6'8" 230 pound frame.  Abu is athletic and can be a good solid on the glass, but he is not a game-breaker for this team. Abu has only reached double figures in scoring one time in the State's final nine games.

Chris Jones 6'6" SO  8.4 P/G
Josh Newkirk 6'1" SO  6.0 P/G
Derrick Randall 6'9" SR  1.6 P/G
Aron Phillips-Nwankwo 6'7" SR 1.7 P/G

vs.

Kyle Washington 6'9"  SO  7.1 P/G
BeeJay Anya 6'9" SO
Caleb Martin 6'7" FR
Cody Martin 6'6" FR
Desmond Lee 6'4" SR

Pitt's bench is very inconsistent, but it is not totally short on talent. Chris Jones has given Pitt some big scoring games this season, and has made the most three's on the roster this season. If he can come into the game and give Pitt some outside shooting, they become way more dynamic offensively. Josh Newkirk has had a bad season overall, but he always seems to show flashes every now and again. Newkirk had one of his best games of the season on Saturday, and Pitt could really benefit if he can build off of it.  NC State does not have a great big man, but they have a lot of them, the Randall/Nwankwo/Uchebo trio will have to provide minutes.

NC State has been bringing Kyle Washington and BeeJay Anya off the bench this season, but they are arguably better than the two guys they have starting. Pitt fans know of Anya very well, as he was once a high priority Pitt target.  Anya has not been the player people thought he would be, but he is certainly a presence.  The Martin twins are high energy guys, but they can be hit or miss.  The Wolfpack have limited guard depth, and getting Lacey or Barber in foul trouble would be big.