Pitt Basketball: Maui Invitational Will Challenge Panthers

By Gregory Philson
Cameron Wright
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Panthers will look quite a bit different from last season’s team that finished 11-7 in the ACC, and this new-look team will get challenged during the Maui Invitational.

The Panthers will take on hosts Chaminade in the first round, but the remainder of the teams heading to Hawaii could show everyone just to what to expect from the likes of Cameron Wright, James Robinson and transfer Sheldon Jeter.

The Arizona Wildcats highlight the field and should be a top-five team come that time of the season. Brandon Ashley is back and healthy. He will be an absolute force of nature for any team that takes on the Cats. Ashley was injured last season and averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds. He will be the focus on offense and could up his numbers as the leader on the team.

Kansas State is also in the mix and will rely on Marcus Foster. Foster averaged 15.5 points per game in his freshman year and could be in contention for Big 12 Player of the Year.

Pitt could play BYU or San Diego State in the second round. Tyler Haws (23.8 PPG) was BYU’s leading scorer last season and is one of the premier scorers in all of NCAA basketball. The Cougars will find it difficult to get around the always-tough Aztecs. Coach Steve Fisher has an excellent recruiting class, and the team may be the second-most talented group heading out to the islands.

Pittsburgh may face SDSU in the semis, and if they find a way to get around the Aztecs, the potential of playing Arizona is there. With these matchups on the horizon, coach Jamie Dixon will definitely see what kind of squad he has before December rolls around.

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

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