After some canceled flights and some in-house fighting between Comet and Blitzen, we’re back to gift out gifts to the rest of the ACC.
Louisville - A foundational piece
It has been really bad this season for the Cardinals. First-year coach Kenny Payne did not inherit much and the results so far have been a disaster. El Ellis is the only player averaging in double figures, but his efficiency is dismal. Louisville finds itself in a situation similar to Pitt’s. This may be the year they bottom out much like the 2017 Pitt team. The Cardinals has some highly ranked recruits, the team just needs one of them to mature in the second half of the season and stay with the program to build something.
Florida State - Someone to channel their inner Dave Cowens and get some rebounds.
NBA Hall of Famer Cowen averaged more than 17 rebounds for the Seminoles in the late 60s. This year’s Seminoles team is getting outrebounded by nearly five boards a night, which ranks in the 300s nationally. alongside programs like Lafayette, Omaha, and Idaho State. FSU is 2-1 (but their wins are over fellow bottom feeders ND and Louisville) in the ACC but just 4-10 overall.
Notre Dame - A greater sense of urgency
Mike Brey’s teams have never been known for their defensive intensity, but they are hardly forcing any turnovers and getting beat on the offensive glass by opponent’s frontcourts. In a 15 point loss to Marquette, they were done in by a dominating 16 and 18 performance from forward Oso Ighodaro. The Irish are always capable of shooting their way out, but even average front courts will continue to bully them. The Irish were 15-5 in the ACC last year and returned some key pieces so they can still turn things around.
Georgia Tech - A couple upset wins
At 7-5 this season, Tech has pretty much beaten the teams they were supposed to beat and lost to the teams they were supposed to lose to. The shine of their 2021 ACC Tournament title has worn off and Tech is back to being at the bottom of the conference. Coach Josh Pastner has three more years left on his contract after signing an extension a few months before last season began. If competing for a postseason birth is out of of the question, a few big wins could help renew faith in Pastner. Otherwise, his seat will continue to heat up.
Boston College - A star turn for Devin McGlockton
After scoring only 18 points total in his first five college games after redshirting last season, McGlockton has scored in double figure in 6 of his last 8, highlighted by 20 and 11 performance in a loss against Nebraska and 18 and 7 in a win against Virginia Tech. Only a two star recruit, the development of players like McGlockton are key for teams at the bottom of the conference and the strength of the conference as a whole.
How do these teams match up with Pitt so far this season?
I would like to say that Pitt can beat most if not all of these teams. Notre Dame is the best of this bunch by far, but it remains to be seen if they have the type of frontcourt to take advantage of the Irish weakness up front. Another key matchup in the GT game will be Pitt’s shooters against GT’s perimeter defense. The Yellow Jackets defend the three exceptionally well, holding teams to 27% so far.
Pitt gets six games this year against FSU, Louisville and GT. They need all six to help their tournament chances in what is shaping up like another down year for the ACC.