Pitt Must Not Overlook Georgia Tech

By Gregory Philson
Jamie Dixon
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest game in the ACC this week pits former Big East foes, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, against one another in the Carrier Dome Saturday.

But before getting to that game, Pittsburgh must hold up its end by not only living up to finally being ranked in the top-25 but also remaining undefeated in the conference. The Panthers take on Georgia Tech at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta on Tuesday. The Panthers have rolled so far in the ACC by handling Wake Forest, North Carolina State and Maryland by no less than 12 points. Pittsburgh has been playing extremely efficiently on offense by shooting at least 48 percent from the field in all three games. Pittsburgh has also seen senior Lamar Patterson shine and look like an all-ACC first team player. Patterson might be able to throw his name in the hat for conference player of the year if the Panthers win both games this week.

However, Georgia Tech is not just going to let Pittsburgh come into town and win going away. The Yellow Jackets have not looked spectacular this season, but they are coming off a solid victory over Notre Dame, 74-69, last weekend. Trae Gordon led the way for Tech with 20 points and will need to carry his momentum over against Pittsburgh if the Jackets have any shot.

Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon will get to see how his team reacts to losing Durand Johnson for the season after he injured is ACL against Wake Forest. Johnson had been averaging 8.8 points per game and knocked down 22 three-pointers. Pittsburgh should be able to adapt by either playing some starters a few more minutes — only Patterson averages 30 minutes per game — or by hoping Jamel Artis or Derrick Randall add just a little more to their game.

Either way, Pitt will get 40 minutes to see what they have without Johnson and hopefully learn enough to be ready for Syracuse this weekend.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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