Season record: 7-6
Steven Adams vs. Jack Cooley. There are other matchups that will help determine the outcome of tonight’s game against Notre Dame, but perhaps none bigger than the marquee matchup between these two centers.
Cooley averages a double-double for the Irish and Adams has not competed against a player of his caliber all season. The closest thing was facing Gorgui Dineg of Louisville, but he’s not the power player Cooley is.
Adams has a tough task, but if he can hold his own, the Panthers will have a great chance to win. But if Cooley has a good night on the offensive boards it has the potential to be a long night.
A few other important things to watch:
*Getting out on Notre Dame’s 3-point shooters. Eric Atkins is shooting 44 percent from behind the arc in conference play and Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton will shoot from deep, too, albeit with a much lower percentage. Both are at 33 percent.
*Pitt and Notre Dame are two of the top teams in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio. This cannot be a game where there is an uncharacteristic high turnover game for the Panthers, especially of the Irish try to make it a low-possession game.
*Take advantage of Notre Dame’s defense. The Irish are not a particularly strong defensive outfit. They give up 69.5 points per game and allow opponents to shoot 45.6 percent from the field. Both rank 14th out of 15 teams in the Big East. This suggests the Panthers will have plenty of opportunities to score, and they must take advantage because the Irish are capable of scoring if they get hot from the outside.
Pitt came too far by winning seven of eight to get into good position. The Panthers will put the Marquette loss in the rear view mirror and bounce back with a much-needed home win.
Pitt 67, Notre Dame 60
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