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Ryan Schaitkin

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Pitt at Virginia Tech - Feb. 15, 2020 - 6PM - Live Game Thread


Game Preview
Pitt (15-10, 6-8) faces off against the Virginia Tech Hokies (14-10, 5-8) in Blacksburg, Va. just days after a morale-busting 20-point loss at home against Clemson. Wednesday's loss to Clemson was a gut punch in terms of Pitt's NCAA tournament hopes this season. Still, an upset win today would put the Panthers within one game of 0.500 in ACC play. The game is at 6 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.

Players to watch:
Virginia Tech - Landers Nolley II. Nolley, a top-75 overall recruit in the class of 2018, is having a fantastic start to this season after nearly transferring from Virginia Tech just ten months ago. Following Buzz Williams' departure to Texas A&M last spring, Nolley explored a transfer before ultimately making his decision to stick with the Hokies in April 2019.

His decision to stay with the team is fortunate for the Hokies, who are benefitting mightily from his presence on the court this season. Nolley, who has started 23 of Virginia Tech's 24 games, is averaging 17.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game with an effective field goal percentage of 48.9 percent. He's hitting 35.1 percent of his threes on a significant 7.3 attempts per game from beyond the arc. Expect him to put up points tonight, especially with Pitt's recent defensive struggles.

After all, Clemson just hit 13 of 22 three-point attempts against the Panthers on Wednesday. You can bet that Nolley is looking forward to tonight's game.

Pitt - Trey McGowens. McGowens' shooting difficulties have been well-documented this year, though he's done plenty of other things well--defensively as well as an offensive facilitator. We covered his growth this season in our recent post on the roster's player development this season.

Still, McGowens is shooting just 31.8 percent since the new year, and just 27.3 percent from three over that time span. His slump has deepened over the past couple of games, as he's hit just 6 of 23 shots against relatively weak Georgia Tech and Clemson teams. Today will be a big opportunity to see how he can bounce back, once again against a relatively weak opponent in Virginia Tech. If Pitt can win today, it needs McGowens to shoot the ball better than he has recently.

The Odds
The Panthers have a 30.9 percent chance of winning according to ESPN, and the Hokies are favored by three points. According to KenPom's college basketball rankings, Pitt is ranked no. 95 in the country, and Virginia Tech sits at no. 96. Especially with the home court advantage, this is a game that Pitt needs to win. Pitt's no. 95 ranking marks a drop of 16 spots following Wednesday's loss to Clemson.

What do you think will happen today? Sound off in our live game thread! We'll be discussing Pitt hoops throughout the game.

Posted: 02/15/2020 at 6:01PM



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Current Thread:
 
  
Pitt at Virginia Tech - Feb. 15, 2020 - 6PM - Live Game Thread -- Ryan Schaitkin 02/15/2020 6:01PM
  U16 media timeout in the first half -- Ryan Schaitkin 02/15/2020 6:15PM
  And we're at the U12 media timeout -- Ryan Schaitkin 02/15/2020 6:25PM
  Panthers timeout with 8:18 to go -- Ryan Schaitkin 02/15/2020 6:34PM
  Panthers off to an inauspicious start in the second half -- Ryan Schaitkin 02/15/2020 7:13PM
  U16 timeout -- Ryan Schaitkin 02/15/2020 7:19PM
  U12 timeout and Pitt is clawing back into this one -- Ryan Schaitkin 02/15/2020 7:28PM
  U8 timeout -- Ryan Schaitkin 02/15/2020 7:36PM
  Final media timeout -- Ryan Schaitkin 02/15/2020 7:48PM
  Pitt falls on the road, 67-57 -- Ryan Schaitkin 02/15/2020 8:01PM
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