Pittsburgh Panthers Have A Big Week Ahead

By Gregory Philson
Lamar Patterson
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh gave Syracuse everything it had in the Panthers’ first ACC loss at the Carrier Dome this past weekend, but now the team needs to focus on what is ahead. Pittsburgh takes on Clemson at home Tuesday, and the Tigers will not let the Panthers just walk over them.

Pittsburgh struggled shooting against the zone Saturday and finished with a field goal percentage of 38 percent. Pittsburgh has to shake off that performance and get back to what made the Panthers so successful earlier this season. The Orange zone is always tricky and tends to fluster teams much like it did against the Panthers. Pittsburgh only had two players score in double figures, and Lamar Patterson‘s shot was not on target as he finished 6-of-15 from the field — although he did knock down four three-pointers but missed two late.

The Panthers have the opportunity against Clemson and at Maryland this week to get back on track before taking on Duke next week. These two games may offer coach Jamie Dixon a little time to work on an offense that did not run smoothly against Syracuse.

Clemson will not be an easy challenge as the Tigers enter the game with three straight victories, including a 72-59 victory over Duke. Clemson junior K.J. McDaniels is a tough match-up for Pittsburgh at 6-foot-6 and 200-pounds. McDaniels is averaging 16 points per game and 7.2 rebounds. He can do a little bit of everything, and if Patterson has to guard him it may hurt Pittsburgh’s leading scorer on offense.

Maryland has had its problems this season, but Pittsburgh cannot overlook the Terrapins. Duke follows that game, but Maryland will be amped up at home to pull off the upset.

Pittsburgh is still one of the best teams in the ACC, and this week the Panthers must show how tough they are following a hard loss.

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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