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Pitt vs. Wake Forest Preview

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 7 p.m.
Opponent: Wake Forest
Head Coach: Steve Forbes (second year)
Conference: ACC
Current Record: 17-5
Last Game: 94-72 loss vs. Syracuse.
2020-21 Season: 6-16 (3-15, 14th in ACC)

Pitt is set to face Wake Forest in Winston-Salem on Wednesday night in what figures to be a tough test for an ailing Panthers team that has lost three of its last four games and last won on the road on Dec. 18. As for the Demon Deacons, they will be more motivated than usual to put a tally in the win column, as they just had a four-game winning streak snapped by Syracuse in their last outing. The Deacs also enter the game favored by 12.5 points.

If there is a silver lining for Pitt, it’s that the team will at least have its full coaching staff in tow, as Pitt head coach Jeff Capel and Pitt assistant coach Jason Capel have cleared COVID-19 protocols and will travel to Winston-Salem with the team after missing Pitt’s 69-56 loss to Boston College on Sunday. Pitt will also have Ithiel Horton in his second game back from suspension, and he will play alongside Jamarius Burton and Femi Odukale, who have both been reliable contributors this season.

However, to top Wake Forest, Pitt will need more from its frontcourt, as John Hugley and Mouhamadou Gueye were both held to single-digit point totals by Boston College. And the team will need more from its bench players, who have contributed nothing to the team’s point total in the last two games, with the exception of usual starter Horton, who came off the bench and scored 11 points Sunday.

As for the Demon Deacons, they will likely lean heavily on Alondes Williams, who leads the ACC in points and assists, with 19.8 points per game and 5.1 assists per game. Williams will likely be eager to return to form after posting a season-low eight points against Syracuse in his last outing and snapping a 21-game streak of posting double-figure point totals. And he should have plenty of help from the likes of Jake Laravia snd Daivien Williamson, who are averaging 14.9 and 13.5 points per game.