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Pitt vs. Virginia Tech Preview

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NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 7 p.m.
Opponent: Virginia Tech
Head Coach: Mike Young (third year)
Conference: ACC
Current Record: 12-10
Last Game: 81-66 win vs. Georgia Tech
2020-21 Season: 15-7 (9-4, third in ACC)

Pitt is set to face Virginia Tech at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday night, and in that matchup, the Panthers will attempt to pull out of a tailspin that has seen them drop four of their last give games. Meanwhile, the Hokies have won two straight after falling in six of eight games between Dec. 22 and Jan. 26, and they enter the game as 6.5-point favorites.

Last time Pitt played, the team gave up a season-high 91 points to Wake Forest in a 91-75 loss. With that in mind, the Panthers will need to tighten up on defense this time around, particularly on the perimeter, as 45 of those 91 points were accrued on 15 three-pointers. That could be especially problematic in a matchup with the Hokies, who rank third nationally in three-point shooting percentage, as they are making 41.1 percent of their threes.

Virginia Tech is led by Keve Aluma, a 6’9”, 235-pound power forward who averages 15.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He will be flanked by three players averaging over 10 points per game, including Hunter Cattoor, a 47.5 percent three-point shooter; Justyn Mutts, a 37.5 percent three-point shooter and solid inside scorer; and Nahiem Alleyne, a 36.4 percent three-point shooter.

Pitt only has three players with double-figure scoring averages, and the limited contributions of depth players has hindered the team this season. With that said, John Hugley has led the team in points and boards, with 15.3 and 8.5 per game, and the power forward should help in counteracting Aluma’s impact. Pitt can also count on solid performances from Femi Odukale and Jamarius Burton. But the game will likely hinge on the Panthers’ ability to get a good all-around effort from the team, a feat that has proved elusive this season.