The Pitt men’s basketball team is back in action tonight with a game against Clemson.
On paper, it seems to be a pretty even matchup. Pitt is 12-8 while Clemson is 11-8. Both teams had big trouble with Duke and have struggled against ranked opponents in general. Pitt has had a little more success in that regard with the win against Florida State (Clemson lost to the Seminoles by nine and hasn’t yet beaten a ranked team). But the Panthers are still searching for their first road win of the season and the Tigers have this one at their place. As a result, they’re favored about about 9-10 points tonight.
I do think the two teams are relatively close, given what they’ve done so far this season. Both are decent but neither is exceptional. My problem for Pitt in this game, as it will be for others this year, is that winning on the road will be difficult for them. Even in games where they play well, they have had some issues down the stretch that have prevented them from winning. Heck, even in the home win against Louisville earlier this year, they lost a big lead late and were forced to win in overtime. This team is still figuring out to win in conference at all, let alone on the road.
That isn’t to make the argument they won’t win on the road at all this season. I actually believe they will and it might even be as soon as tonight. Even beyond my own whimsical hunches, they’ve shown they will compete away from home. Pitt lost by only one at ranked Iowa. They lost by only six at a ranked NC State team. They’ve been close. But it’s almost one of those things you have to see before you believe it will happen. Plus, as I often say, while things can happen, expecting them to and calling your shot in any given performance is a difficult thing to do.
Come 9:00 tonight, they’ll have another crack at making us all believers. The game is on ESPNU. Join us here to comment live during the contest.