Since Pitt’s victory in opposition to Georgia Tech on Saturday, there was speak about what the Panthers must do to succeed in the NCAA Event.
That’s an indication of progress for what Jeff Capel is constructing or excessively optimistic pondering.
Pitt hasn’t been to the event because the 2015-16 season, Jamie Dixon’s final. Within the three ensuing seasons, the Panthers gained a complete of seven ACC video games.
With a victory in opposition to Clemson on Wednesday evening at Petersen Occasions Heart, Pitt (15-9, 6-7) can match that whole, with six extra to play within the common season.
However incomes a event berth most likely would require 5 victories within the closing seven ACC video games, plus two extra within the convention event. That’s rather a lot to ask.
Since Pitt joined the ACC for the 2013-14 season, the convention has positioned at the least six groups in each event. However the ACC is struggling this season, and solely No. 6 Duke, No. 7 Louisville and No. 15 Florida State are within the prime 50 of the NCAAnet rankings. Possibly the committee will draw the road at 5. Pitt checks in at 78th general, eighth within the ACC.
Time to begin stacking victories.
Right here’s what to search for in opposition to Clemson:
1. Time for a nap?
The sport suggestions off at 9 p.m., the fifth such begin time this season for the Panthers. Capel doesn’t prefer it, calling 9 o’clock begins “the worst” throughout an look Monday on 93.7 FM.
“I’m not an enormous fan of 9 p.m. video games, particularly throughout a weekday,” he mentioned. “I perceive why you must have them for TV. I get that, and I’m grateful that we might be on TV.
“However for a quote-unquote student-athlete, particularly once you’re on the highway, to have a sport at 9 and journey again and also you count on them to be at school the following day, particularly, you probably have an early class, that’s actually, actually troublesome.”
Capel additionally mentioned the additional hours of inactivity whereas making an attempt to preserve vitality may make gamers “extra drained and extra torpid.”
However until a participant will get caught in the midst of a yawn whereas capturing a foul shot, the late begin shouldn’t have a big impact on both group.
2. Guard the 3-point line
Clemson likes to shoot the three and has already tried 606 of them (third within the convention). In Clemson’s loss to Notre Dame on Sunday, 34 of the Tigers’ 56 field-goal makes an attempt had been from exterior the arc. Clemson made solely 9 and is capturing 30.9% for the season, 10th within the convention.
Pitt has tried solely 432, 12th within the convention, whereas making 30.3%. Capel mentioned Miami’s coaches lately had been yelling at their defenders to “again up, allow them to shoot.”
Ryan Murphy’s return from a concussion could be welcome. He leads Pitt with 110 tried 3s and a 35.5% success charge, even whereas lacking the previous three video games.
Give Capel and his medical individuals credit score for not speeding Murphy again.
3. Freshman focus
Justin Champagnie was named the CBS Sports activities/U.S. Basketball Writers Affiliation Freshman of the Week after averaging 25 factors and 10 rebounds in opposition to Notre Dame and Georgia Tech.
His presence has taken a lot of the scoring load and strain off sophomore guards Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens.
Champagnie is second amongst starters with 146 makes an attempt in 13 ACC video games whereas capturing 42.5%. He leads the group in scoring in convention video games (13.0).
“Simply having Justin enjoying nicely takes lot of stress off us,” McGowens mentioned, “the place we will simply cross and never power issues.”
4. Who wants Twitter?
One other large enhance for McGowens and Johnson has been their latest determination to remain off social media.
“I do know final yr and this yr, we like to take a look at what individuals are saying about us, and a variety of it was destructive,” McGowens mentioned. “I really feel like that sort of affected us rather a lot. Which may have put us extra in a droop than we put ourselves into, seeing a variety of destructive issues, feeling like we’ve to do higher. When coach talked to us about dropping your self and getting off every little thing, that has actually helped rather a lot. Now, we’re simply enjoying.”
5. Wanting forward
After the Clemson sport, Pitt performs 4 of its closing six regular-season video games away from the Pete.
Pitt is 1-5 on the highway within the convention. That most likely offers Wednesday’s dwelling sport one other layer of significance.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Evaluate workers author. You may contact Jerry by e-mail at [email protected] or through Twitter .