The Pittsburgh Panthers basketball team will finally face a real challenge with a meeting against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the semifinals of the Progressive Legends Classic in Brooklyn on Monday.
Pitt is undefeated at 4-0, but the opponents have given little to no idea of what this season has in store for the Panthers. Texas Tech (4-1) is not as formidable as many of the ACC teams Pittsburgh will play in its first season in the conference, but the Red Raiders do pose some challenges for coach Jamie Dixon‘s Panthers.
Pitt is only shooting 38 percent from 3-point land this season against below-average competition. Tech is holding its first five opponents to 30.8 percent shooting from behind the arc. Overall, Tech is holding opponents to only 41 percent shooting.
The Panthers are shooting 49 percent from the field this season and if they can put up a similar number against Tech, it will show that this offensive scheme under Dixon is a threat to future ACC opponents. Talib Zanna (15.3 PPG, 9.0 RPG) and Lamar Patterson (13.8, 5.5 APG) should give Tech fits on Pittsburgh’s offensive possessions.
Tech also is offering a challenge to Pittsburgh’s defense because the Raiders are shooting nearly 50 percent from the field. Tech has four players averaging more than 10 PPG with Jordan Tolbert at 14.8 PPG on 67.3 percent shooting. Tech also has an advantage with its strength-of-schedule to this point. The Raiders played and lost to Alabama, but at least have the experience of facing a quality opponent.
Pittsburgh should come away with a victory, but a lot more can be learned because the Panthers may be challenged for the first time this season.