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Pitt vs. NC State Preview

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 3 p.m.
Opponent: NC State
Head Coach: Kevin Keatts (fifth year)
Conference: ACC
Current Record: 10-15
Last Game: 69-51 loss vs. Wake Forest
2020-21 Season: 14-11 (9-8, ninth in ACC)

Pitt is set to face NC State at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday after its surprising 56-51 upset of Florida State on Wednesday. The Panthers will face a Wolfpack team that has had their number since the Jamie Dixon era, as their last win in the series came on Jan. 4, 2014, which was the first meeting of the two teams after Pitt joined the ACC. Since then, NC State has won 12 straight matchups.

Given that history, it should come as no surprise that NC State enters Saturday’s game in Pittsburgh as the favorite to win. However, it’s also notable that NC State is on a five-game losing streak and is only favored by 1.5 points. Those are the best odds Pitt has had in several games, with its last two opponents favored by 10 points or more. So the possibility exists that the Panthers could pull off another upset.

With that said, the Panthers will likely need solid performances from several of their top players to pull off a win, and getting everyone on the same page has been a challenge for the team this season. Femi Odukale, Jamarius Burton and Mouhamadou Gueye have led the team offensively lately, as they have averaged 16.6, 11.8 and 9.6 points, respectively, over Pitt’s last five games. But Ithiel Horton also went off for 25 points in Pitt’s last game and could be a major factor if he can post similar numbers against NC State on Saturday.

As for NC State, the team is led in scoring by Dereon Seabron, who averages 18.2 points per game, and he has generally been a reliable contributor for the Wolfpack even during its losing streak. With that said, his supporting cast has been less consistent, and that’s especially true of Jericole Hellems, a top-three scorer on the team who has been held to single-digit points in each of his last three outings. With that said, Terquavion Smith has been impressive in three of his last four games, and if Seabron and Smith both have good games on Saturday, they could derail Pitt.