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Pitt faces another test in next ACC game vs. Louisville

NCAA Basketball: Miami at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After a loss to Miami in their ACC opener, Pitt will get another look at its first conference win as they travel to Louisville.

The game is another one that will be in the national spotlight for Pitt. It’s a midweek contest at 9:00 p.m. and will be on ESPNU.

In most years, you’d expect a blood bath against this Pitt team. But the Cardinals are a little down themselves. Louisville is still 10-3, but was just bludgeoned by No. 16 Kentucky, losing by 29 points. They also lost earlier to (albeit now-ranked) Purdue and Seton Hall teams. In addition, they had some decidedly narrow wins over Omaha and Albany, winning by a combined seven. Their best victory of the season was likely in defeating either 8-6 Indiana or 9-4 Memphis.

Still, you can expect it to be a tough one for the Panthers.

First, it sounds as if Ryan Luther will be out again. Kevin Stallings didn’t say that definitively after the game but did say it was ‘doubtful’ he would be back for this one. And without him in there, the Panthers are at a severe disadvantage.

Louisville averages about nine more points than Pitt and, as we saw against Miami and West Virginia, the Panthers can struggle to score points against their better competition. Pitt scored 53 against Miami and 60 against the Mountaineers, and if they’re again without Luther, it could be another tough day at the office. Playing on the road won’t make things easier and I’m also not crazy about the fact that the Cardinals were just blown out by a rival. They should come out with a lot of focus against Pitt.

The Cardinals also have some talented bigs, which will be a handful for Terrell Brown and company. Louisville has four guys over 6’10”, although only two are playing significant minutes. One is Anas Mahmoud, a 7-footer from Egypt (8.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and the other is 6’10” forward Ray Spalding, who’s averaging nearly a double double (10.8 ppg and 9.7 rpg). How Pitt handles that duo without Luther in there is beyond me.

Louisville isn’t as good as Miami or West Virginia but they also aren’t going to be a pushover by any means.

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