5 Things Pittsburgh Panthers Fans Want To See Against Virginia
5 Things Pitt Fans Want To See vs. Virginia
Pittsburgh had momentum, the crowd and at that point, the best player in the ACC on its side. Then, almost too quickly to comprehend, Jabari Parker, Andre Dawkins and rest of the Duke Blue Devils ripped it all away with an excellent three-point shooting performance and another stellar rebounding game from the entire team.
Pittsburgh has almost an entire week to figure out what went wrong, when it went wrong and how to fix it before taking to their home court again to battle a talented and confident Virginia Cavaliers squad on Sunday.
Pittsburgh and Virginia both must feel this game could mean a lot for positioning in the ACC and where they could be seeded in the NCAA tournament. But it does seem Pittsburgh has a little more pressure built in. The Panthers are hearing this is just another season where they win a lot of games but fall to good teams and leave March early.
Pittsburgh had a weaker non-conference schedule, and maybe it hurt the Panthers in preparing for Duke. Maybe the players were too amped for the Devils' first appearance in Petersen Events Center as a conference rival. Whatever the case was for the Panthers' worst loss of the season, the team must shake it off quickly and regroup as a unit. Pittsburgh now knows exactly what to expect from every other team in the league, and the Cavaliers will be a tough team to play following a loss. Beating Virginia will not stop the chatter, but it could help rebuild confidence that most likely was lost in the game against Duke.
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5. A Quick Start
Nothing shows a team has shaken off a bad game more than coming out and running a clean offense right from the tip. Pittsburgh must start against Virginia with an effective and efficient offensive scheme. Coach Jamie Dixon must get as many players involved to alleviate any carryover doubt from Duke. If Pitt can come out and score with some ease early, the Panthers could get back to rolling.
4. Contributions From Many Players
Pittsburgh struggled all around against Duke, and role players did not help as much as they needed to against a team as talented as the Blue Devils. Cameron Wright needs to attack the basket and use his athletic ability to provide the Panthers a punch. James Robinson must be more involved because he did show he can score in bunches. The bench must score more, and the three or four players who step in when starters get a breather must step up and do the little things.
3. A Plus-Rebounding Effort
Pittsburgh has three losses this season, and in two of those games the normally stout rebounding team — ranked No. 1 in the ACC before the Duke game — was on the minus side on the boards. Rebounding on defense and not allowing second-chance points will be crucial. Duke did a lot its damage on the offensive glass. Pittsburgh needs to outrebound Virginia.
2. An Attacking Lamar Patterson
Lamar Patterson was the ACC Player of the Year before Monday, but his effort against Duke did not help his case. Patterson was aggressive early but settled for jumpers and finished with only four made field goals on 14 attempts. Patterson should drive to paint, get fouled and take his anger out on Virginia. It will be surprising if Patterson does not finish with at least 20 points.
1. A Pittsburgh Victory
The only true way to completely shake off a loss is to win. The Pittsburgh Panthers have to beat the Virginia Cavaliers and not fall into a losing streak. Two straight losses will get more people talking and it will get into the players' heads. This is the best Pittsburgh team in recent memory, but another loss will build the "this is the same old Pitt team" narrative.