After a few days off, Pitt basketball is back in action with a game against the Louisville Cardinals tonight. The Panthers have had two good ACC tests already in Syracuse and Georgia Tech, but the Cardinals will be the toughest in-conference game yet.
Pitt has another shot at a statement win here in facing the No. 21 ranked Cardinals. One thing I don't like here is that Louisville is fresh off of a loss to Clemson and the team has dropped two of its past four games. The Cardinals are a team that needs a win right now and with the game at their place, I expect them to come out a little more desperate. But it's deeper than that.
Louisville is also one of the deeper teams Pitt will probably face. They have nine guys playing over ten minutes per game and also will give the Panthers another test of size. The Cardinals have five players on the roster listed at 6'10" or taller and while center Mangok Mathiang should be out due to injury, they still have three others playing a good bit, including Chinanu Onuaku, who averages nearly a double double per game (10.1 ppg and 8.7 rpg). The Pitt backcourt will also get a workout with the team's top two scorers overall, senior guards Damion Lee and Trey Lewis.
A lot is being made out of the fact that Pitt hasn't won in Louisville in a decade (January 2006). However the Cardinals have just beaten Pitt's brains in no matter where they play lately. They haven't beaten the Cardinals in their last six tries and are 2-8 in the last ten games. The press is just a style of defense that has given the Panthers a lot of trouble and has thrown them out of their rhythm. Four times, Pitt failed to score even 60 points and a fifth, they tallied only 61. Add it all up, and it makes sense that Vegas has things in Louisville's favor, making them 7-7 1/2 point favorites as of Wednesday.
It's not an unwinnable game, but overall, one that looks very tough. Pitt eventually needs to score a win over a ranked team but I'm not sure it's going to be this one.
Game time is at 9:00 p.m. and you can see it on ESPN. Join us here to comment live during the game.