Game Time: 7:00 pm
Line: Pitt -10.5
Opponent: The Citadel
Head Coach: Duggar Baucom (7th year)
Current Record: 0-0
Last Game: n/a
2020 Season: 13-12 (5-11) 8th
Key Losses: G Kaiden Rice (17.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, graduation), G Fletcher Abee (12.4 ppg, transfer)
Key Returners: F Hayden Brown (18.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg), G Tyler Moffe (9.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), F Stephen Clark (5.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.8 bpg)
Well, Pitt opens the 2021 season against The Citadel. Their coach, Duggar Baucom, runs the “Score as quickly as possible” offense and the “I hope the other team stinks at open layups” defense. A few of his VMI teams in the early 2010s pulled off the “Loyola Marymount Special” by being number one overall in Division 1 in scoring offense and dead last in Division 1 in scoring defense. The biggest offensive threat for the Bulldogs is Hayden Brown, a returning 1st team all league performer. Brown was the conference’s leading rebounder and second leading scorer. He is strong, but only 6’5” so hopefully Pitt can take advantage of their height advantage. Stephen Clark at 6’8” is a skilled shot-blocker, but there is only so much he can do when the defensive system relies on a lot of gambles.
I don’t think anyone knows what this Pitt team is going to look like this year. They’ll most likely be bad given the talent lost, but I’m sure it will be fun at some points. The key player for me tonight is Hugley. He has the size and talent to easily put up 20 and 10 against undersized competition. It’s obviously dumb to take the results of the first game of the season as a full year prediction, but I will say that if Hugley comes out of this game with say a 9 and 6 line, I have zero hope for Pitt in the ACC and they may very well go winless in conference again.
I’m kidding. They’re going undefeated.
Prediction: Pitt 85 The Citadel 72