Poll Question: How far will Pitt go in the Big East tournament? Win championship (0%) Lose in championship game (0%) Lose in semis (0%) Lose today (100%)
Ray Fittipaldo: Are there any questions today?
The Dude: What do think are the keys to a Pitt victory today?
Ray Fittipaldo: As always against Syracuse, Pitt has to rebound well and take advantage of Syracuse's questionable inside game. The Panthers had 14 offensive rebounds in its 65-55 win at the Petersen Events Center in February. Also, Pitt has been good at attacking the 2-3 zone over the years. As far as defending Syracuse, get out on James Southerland and don't let him nail a lot of 3s. If they do those things they'll be in good shape.
Bob: How does this Syracuse team differ from the one Pitt played in February?
Ray Fittipaldo: The most obvious difference is James Southerland will be in the lineup today. Southerland missed the game in February because of an eligibility issue. I was in the Syracuse locker room yesterday after the Orange beat Seton Hall. The players were all excited to get another shot at Pitt and they believed Southerland could be the difference maker because of his ability to knock down 3-pointers. When Pitt beat Syracuse in February, the Orange was ranked in the top 10. They're well down in the rankings now after losing four of five to end the regular season. The Syracuse players think they turned a corner against Seton Hall and are back to playing well again. We'll find out for sure in an hour so.
Drew: Who do you expect to see more of off the bench? More Durand Johnson for his offense against the zone? Or more Cam Wright for his defense?
Ray Fittipaldo: Durand might be a good option today, but there are always concerns about his ball handling. And Syracuse turned Pitt over 20 times in the game in February. I like what he can provide, though, with his outside shooting. Cam Wright played very well vs. Syracuse in the first game. He scored seven points and made a huge 3-pointer that broke a 35-35 midway through the second half. If I had to pick one I'd say Johnson because he's been playing better lately, but Wright will have confidence based on what he did vs. the Orange six weeks ago.
Ray Fittipaldo: Tray Woodall said Monday it's wide open and I agree with him. There are eight teams playing today and all eight will make the NCAA tournament. There is not a great Big East team, just some very good ones and some others that are above average. Pitt can be one of the very good teams and win a few games. I would not be shocked if the Panthers won the whole thing. But if I had pick one team I'd go with Louisville because the Cards have been playing the best lately.
The Dude: Who do you predict to win the BE tournament?
Ray Fittipaldo: That answer was for the question just posted. Having some issues posting questions today.
Lentz: Any word on Adams' ankle?
Ray Fittipaldo: Just spoke with Pitt SID Greg Hotchkiss. Everyone is healthy and ready to go. Adams will start. Not sure if he is 100 percent, but Jamie Dixon said on Monday he was not limping as much as he did in the game vs. DePaul on Saturday.
The Dude: Any word on filling the remaining scholarships for next year? What do you think is Pitt's greatest need for next year?
Ray Fittipaldo: They've offered Jon Severe, a guard from New York. There are some conflicting reports about Jamel Artis, the small forward from Notre Dame Prep. 247 reported he gave a verbal commitment, but I called Notre Dame Prep coach Ryan Hurd about it and I haven't heard back from him. Usually, coaches are happy to call back when a player commits because it's good publicity for their program. Not sure what it means that he hasn't called me back yet. And if there is a big man to be had they could offer one. However, there doesn't appear to be many good ones left.
The Dude: Who do you think starts at the 2 guard next year?
Ray Fittipaldo: Good question. I don't think Trey Zeigler has shown enough to anyone for him to be the guy at this point. They could always move Lamar Patterson to shooting guard and slide Durand Johnson into the small forward spot. Or even JJ Moore at small forward. I think the problem with that is Patterson's ability to defend a shooting guard. There is plenty of time to figure that out, but it will be one of the big questions for this team after the season ends.
Ray Fittipaldo: Thanks for taking part in the chat today. We'll do it again next week. Stay tuned to my Twitter feed (@rayfitt1) for any changes in the schedule due to the NCAA tournament
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