Pitt is not a good team. Currently ACC teams are 22-5 at home in ACC play. Pitt accounts for two of those losses. They are 0-4 in ACC play and they’ve lost by 14, 14, 26, and 35. They are coming off a demoralizing 35 point home loss to Duke earlier in the week. Kenpom has them ranked 191st in the country sandwiched in between Hawaii and 6-13 UC Irvine. That being said, don’t expect this to be an easy game. Pitt will be playing tough at home. Kenpom only favors Tech by two points (though Vegas favors the Jackets by 5.5).
So what went wrong for Pitt? First, they only have three players who aren’t freshman who are contributors. That is not a recipe for success. Since then Ryan Luther has gone down for the season with injury so they are only left with 2. That leaves them giving ~70% of their minutes to freshmen. That’s not a great sign even if you have a fantastic recruiting, Pitt did not.
Jared Wilson-Frame is the leader for this Pitt team. The junior guard leads the team with 13.1 points per game, but he gets there very inefficiently shooting just 37.1% from the field. The most dangerous player in this game is probably freshman guard Marcus Carr. He averages 10.6 points a game and shoots 43.4% from deep which has hurt Tech this year. Freshman guard Shamiel Stevenson has been playing better recently and averages 9.9 points per game.
Notice that the three players I mentioned are all guards. When Pitt lost Ryan Luther to injury, they lost the only real inside presence that they had. Terrel Brown, Kene Chukwuka, and Peace Ilegomah will play down low, but none of them are particularly good, especially offensively. This would be a good game for Ben Lammers to start getting into a groove.
I like this matchup for Georgia Tech. Pitt turns the ball over on 22% of their possessions good for 311th in the country so look for Jose and the guards to be very active looking for steals. The Panthers also get blocked a lot, 13.4% of the time which is 342nd in the country. Between Ben Lammers, AD Gueye, Josh Okogie, and Curtis Haywood this could be a block party. They also only shoot 33.1% from deep and are 268th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. Both of those are integral to beating the zone, so I’d expect to see us in zone for most of the game. One thing to watch out for, Pitt is 3rd in the country in free throw defense only allowing teams to shoot 64.5% against them from the stripe.
This game takes place today at 2 pm at Pittsburgh. I believe that Tech is starting to turn the corner while Pitt is heading in the other direction. My prediction is Tech will hold them defensively and do enough on offense to pull out the win 59-51.