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Pitt vs Virginia Cavaliers Preview

Pitt looks to stay unbeaten in conference play

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 9:00 pm

Opponent: Virginia

Head Coach: Tony Bennett (14th season)

Conference: ACC

Current Record: 10-2 (2-1) #11 in AP Poll

Last Game: W 74-56 @ Georgia Tech

2021 Season: 21-14 (12-8, 6th in ACC)

Top Players: F Jayden Gardner (12.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) G Kihei Clark (11.5 ppg, 5.8 apg), G Armaan Franklin (10.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg)

Last meeting: UVA 66 Pitt 61 on 1/19/22

Virginia had an uncharacteristically high 14 losses last season. This was mostly due to a poor three point shooting season from the Hoos. They went from 37.5% as a team in 2020 to 32.3% last season. They’re back to 36.7% as a team this year. Their two loss es are to final four contender Houston and ACC title contender Miami. Pitt shut down UNC’s Caleb Love on Friday. It will need a similar effort to contain Clark, Franklin and Reece Beekman.

Keys to the Game:

  1. Catch and shoot - The pack line defense does give you much time to think about what to do with the ball before the help swarms you. Pitt’s shooters need to be ready to fire if they have even a little breathing room. I hope to see a big game from Elliott tonight.
  2. Skip passes - If Pitt can be quick and accurate with their skip passes, it will allow them to attack the closeouts and maybe get into the lane for some better shots.
  3. Three point defense - As stated earlier UVA was not a good three point shooting team last year, but the same players who could not hit anything last year are making shots this year. Clark (34.6% last year to 42.1% this year), Franklin (29.6% to 39.7%) and Beekman (33.8% to 45.8%) have all made big improvements to their efficiency.
  4. To summarize, basically everything Isaiah Wong did against them in this video. He attacked in a straight line, he was ready to shoot, he made smart passes. It was an offensive clinic.

Prediction: It seems like every game a different Panther steps up. It was Cummings and Hinson against Syracuse. Burton took over against UNC. Who will step up for Pitt against the Cavaliers? I will once again mention Elliott. I think he shakes off a 3-14 slump the last two games to bury four big triples in a Pitt win.

Pitt 68 UVA 65