Opponent: Saint Louis Billikens
Conference: Atlantic 10
Current Record: 4-0 (0-0)
Last Game: Nov 17, W 66-64 @ Seton Hall
2017 Season: 17-16 (9-9), 5th
Key Losses: G Davell Roby (11.5 ppg, graduation), F Jalen Johnson (9.1 ppg, transfer)
Key Returnees: G Javon Bess (13.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg), G Jordan Goodwin (11.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg)
Today’s game is a little ... early? Pitt will face Saint Louis at noon at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn as part of the Barclays Classic.
Saint Louis is probably the deepest team in the A-10. Nearly everyone has picked them to either win the conference or come very close. Lunardi has them in the Dance in a First Four game (A-10 will be down this year). Their coach, Travis Ford, coached Oklahoma State to a Round of 32 loss against Pitt in 2009. He’s in his third season. Saint Louis is filled with transfers from P5 schools with Bess (2 years at Michigan State), Dion Wiley (3 years at Maryland), and Tramaine Isabell, Jr. (2 at Mizzou, 1 at Drexel) all playing significant minutes. Bess is in his second year with the Billikens while it is the first for the other two. Add in top 75 recruit C Carte’Are Gordon and a pair of All A-10 hopefuls in Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French and the Billikens have talent at every position.
Last Meeting: Nov. 11, 2007. Pitt 69 Saint Louis 58 at the Pete behind 16 points each from Blair and Fields
Prediction: Saint Louis has been involved in a lot of close games this year. They’re 4-0 but they haven’t come close to putting together a complete effort. The Billikens were a terrible shooting team in Ford’s first two years (ranked 300th or worse in field goal percentage) and this year they are merely mediocre (139th). Obviously, Pitt will need to rebound well to have a chance. Bess is an all-league defender and Ford will probably put him on whichever of Pitt’s freshmen guards has the hot hand. As much as I want to predict Pitt to win every game (at least until they lose one), Capel’s undefeated run may end here. Saint Louis 70 Pitt 62
Hail to Pitt.