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Notice rebounding is central to Dixon's philosophies at both ends.
It has been a highly successful formula for Pitt over the years, but when the Panthers can't make the other team miss and don't take good shots the results can be ugly. That was the case Wednesday night in a 63-51 loss at South Florida.
Pitt couldn't play defense or offense, and as a result the Panthers couldn't rebound.
South Florida became the latest opponent to get the best of Pitt on the boards. The Bulls won the rebounding battle, 30-27, and was the second opponent in the past three games to beat the Panthers on the boards.
Pitt's 27 rebounds against South Florida were the second-fewest in a game this season. The only game the Panthers had fewer rebounds was against Long Beach State when they had 26.
There is a reason for that. There were fewer rebounds to be had. Those two opponents have shot the highest shooting percentages against Pitt this season. South Florida shot 60.5 percent and Long Beach State 59.3 percent.
The 60.5 percent shot by South Florida represents the second-highest shooting percentage by an opponent since Dixon became head coach in 2003. The highest percentage by an opponent came in a victory against Georgetown when the Hoyas shot 60.9 percent.
So Pitt's rebounding numbers go hand in hand with its ability to defend. Still, there is reason to be concerned about the rebounding.
Dixon's goal every game is to outrebound the opponent by 10, but in the past nine games, Pitt's rebounding margin is slightly over 1.
In that stretch, Rutgers outrebounded Pitt by 16 and West Virginia outrebounded the Panthers by one. Marquette and Louisville tied the Panthers on the boards.
"Our team, we need to pick that up," sophomore center Talib Zanna said. "We just have to box out and just go after the ball every time. We just have to box and be more physical than other teams. We need to come down with every rebound."
Pitt, which had the best rebounding margin in the nation before this stretch, is now fifth with a margin of 8.9 per game in all games. However, in Big East Conference games only, Pitt ranks third behind Villanova and West Virginia with a margin of 4.2 per game.
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