Pittsburgh vs Virginia Basketball Preview
By Josh Burton
Coming off a key 80-76 victory at Florida State, the University of Virginia Men’s Basketball team is 19-5 (10-3 in the ACC) and will now set their sights on the surging Pittsburgh Panthers on Tuesday (2/13). This game is scheduled for a 7 pm EST tip and will air on the ACC Network.
The Pittsburgh Panthers are led by reigning ACC Coach of the Year Jeff Capel, in his sixth season. Capel has a career record of 265-199, while this season Pitt is 15-8 (6-6 in the ACC). The Panthers are coming off of a weekend bye, as their last contest was a 67-64 victory over NC State on Wednesday (2/7). They have now won five of their last six games as they look to make a late postseason push.
Pitt likes to play at a slower pace, and plays sound defense. They are top ten in block percentage while being top twenty in offensive rebound percentage and top thirty in defensive three-point percentage. The Panthers are playing eight players in double digit minutes. They line up as follows:
G - Jaland Lowe (6’3” Freshman) Averages 8.2 points per game, scored 20 in their last game.
G - Carlton Carrington (6’5” Freshman) Averages 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
F - Zack Austin (6’7” Junior) Averages 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
F - Blake Hinson (6’8” Senior) Averages 17.9 points 5 rebounds per game, hitting 41.4% from three.
C - Federiko Federiko (6’11” Junior) Averages 4.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Sixth man Ishmael Leggett also does a lot of damage for them, averaging 12.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He plays the third most minutes on the team at 28.6 per game.
iMac on the Attack
Last time out, Isaac McKneely set a career-high scoring 29 points at Florida State. Isaac has been doing a better job of understanding space while being aggressive in hunting his shot lately. As the player most teams will mark as the main scoring threat, his ability to score in different ways all over the court will continue to pay big dividends for this group down the stretch.
Andrew Rohde had been in a bit of a funk lately for the Wahoos. Before the Florida State game over the weekend, he had only played over twenty minutes just once in the prior five games. He may have found his groove on Saturday night, as he had one of his more productive games of the season. Andrew scored 8 points to go along with 4 assists and only one turnover in thirty-two minutes of action against a very good pressure defense. Rohde not only knocked down 2 three-pointers, but also stepped to the line and calmly knocked down two free-throws with the game still hanging in the balance.
Shooting has been the biggest issue for Rohde this season. As a freshman at St. Thomas last season, he also struggled early on before shooting over 40% from three from mid-January onward. If Rohde can find his shot enough to become a threat for opposing teams to have to guard, it will open up even more space and lineup flexibility for the Hoos. Look for Andrew to try and build on his success from Saturday night.
Looking for Revenge
Following the Pitt game, UVA will host Wake Forest on Saturday (2/17). If the Hoos can beat Wake, they will have avenged all three of their early season conference losses. This one will be scheduled for a noon tip. Locker Room Access will have it covered!
(Featured Image Credit: Josie Drumheller/UVA Athletics)