Pittsburgh Basketball: Panthers' Offense Not The Only Problem

By Gregory Philson
Jamel Artis
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It has not been an easy to watch the last month-plus for coach Jamie Dixon and his Pittsburgh Panthers, yet the team should still be a lock for the NCAA tournament.

Despite that, the Panthers have a lot of issues that need to be addressed before postseason play begins next week. The Panthers have had many problems on offense in their last 10 games where they only scored more than 80 points once and it came in an overtime victory against Notre Dame. The offense’s inability to put numbers up has overshadowed a defense that has also been less than stellar recently.

The Panthers are coming off a loss to NC State where junior star T.J. Warren absolutely dominated the highlight reel with a career-high 41 points on 16-of-22 shooting. While Warren is no stranger to scoring big numbers, the Panthers have to be concerned that one player was basically the reason they lost on Monday.

Pittsburgh’s offense was actually efficient, shooting 50 percent, but this time the defense could not do enough for a victory. The defensive problems are not new and definitely are a major concern. Notre Dame shot 54.8 percent (23-of-42) and Boston College shot 47.7 percent (21-of-44) from the field and almost came all the way back in a game last week.

Pittsburgh has one more regular season game remaining when it travels to Clemson to face the Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday. The Tigers are certainly not the greatest offensive show in the conference, but their defense is as stingy as any team in the country. The Tigers may not need to do a lot on offense to pick up this very important game. A loss for Pittsburgh could put the Panthers rightfully on the bubble and a win or two in the ACC tournament may be needed.

The Panthers can be a solid team on both sides of the ball, but recent displays of poor play on defense could lead to yet another early exit.

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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