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Pitt-NC State Open Game Thread

Pitt looks to build off their first conference win

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

Opponent: #15 North Carolina State

Conference: ACC

Current Record: 13-2 (1-1)

Last Game: Jan. 8, 82-90 L vs UNC

2017 Season: 21-12 (11-7) 3rd

Key Losses: C Omer Yurtseven (13.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, transfer), G Al Freeman (16.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, graduation), F Lennard Freeman (no relation, 7.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, graduation)

Key Players: G Torin Dorn (14.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg), G Markell Johnson (12.3 ppg, 4.2 apg), G CJ Bryce (11.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg)

In his second year, Kevin Keatts has completely overhauled the roster from predecessor Mark Gottfried. The ACC is loaded as usual so the Wolfpack could finish 3rd or 12th, no one knows. They use a four guard lineup with shooters all over the floor. As a team they shoot nearly 40% from 3 (good for top 15 in the country). Dorn is their big do-everything guard who plays the 4, while CJ Bryce is a former 17 ppg scorer from Keatts’ UNC Wilmington team two years ago. NC State presses a lot so this should provide a good test for Pitt’s young guards.

Last Meeting: Jan 24, 2018 Pitt 68 NC State 72

What we said in the recap: “That Pitt collapsed isn’t all that surprising. This is a young team still feeling its way around and as I said in the game thread, a 9-point game with six minutes left isn’t an insurmountable lead. Plus, as stated, we’ve seen the offensive droughts all year long. Sure, a halfway decent team playing a mediocre team should close that out every time. But Pitt, with all due respect, simply isn’t a halfway decent team this year.”

Prediction: Due to their style of play, NC State actually presents a winnable matchup for Pitt, who will struggle more this season with teams who have high-quality bigs (e.g. UNC). The cliché answer is that if Pitt keeps their turnovers down against NC State’s pressure they have a chance to steal a road win. They get the Wolfpack twice this season and it wouldn’t surprise me if Pitt won at least one of them. However, picking them to lose worked last game so I’ll do it again. NC State wins (wink wink) 82-74.

Hail to Pitt.