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Ryan Schaitkin

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Pitt at Georgia Tech - March 4, 2020 - 9PM - Live Game Thread


Game Preview
Pitt (15-15, 6-13) faces off against Georgia Tech (15-14, 9-9) in Atlanta, Ga. in what will be the final regular season contest for the Panthers before the ACC Tournament begins six days from now, on March 10, 2020. The Yellow Jackets enter tonight's contest in the midst of a nice stretch of basketball, having won seven of their past 10 ACC matchups.

One of those three losses came in Pittsburgh, Pa. against the Panthers, as Pitt held on to beat Georgia Tech 73-64 at home. Since then, the Yellow Jackets' only loss was a road contest against Syracuse. This will not be an easy matchup for the Panthers, who stand to get a nice win if they can pull off the upset.

Players to watch:
Georgia Tech - Michael Devoe. Devoe had the distinction of being our "player to watch" for the Yellow Jackets for Pitt's Feb. 8, 2020 matchup with Georgia Tech, and here's what we said about him at that time:

Devoe, a former blue-chip guard prospect from the class of 2018, is Georgia Tech's top shooter. Not only does he lead the Yellow Jackets with 16.0 points per game, but he is a great pure shooter, hitting on 40.7 percent of his three point attempts on the year. Pitt has struggled at times this year at limiting the effectiveness of strong three-point shooters. Devoe gives them another test today.

Well, he delivered in a big way for Georgia Tech that day, scoring 22 points on 7 of 10 shooting (including 3 of 5 from three-point range) and seven assists. He did turn the ball over a whopping eight times, and Pitt's ability to force turnovers--22 for the game--is what ultimately helped them secure the win. Since that game though, Devoe has turned the ball over just 17 times, an average of 3.4 turnovers per game. A repeat of his eight-turnover performance a month ago is unlikely.

Meanwhile, Devoe has been averaging 14.8 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.6 rebounds since that contest, while shooting an impressive 42.1 percent from beyond the arc. To say that he's been crucial to Georgia Tech's success over the past month would be a big understatement. Pitt will need to slow him down tonight to have a shot in this one.

Pitt - Justin Champagnie. Champagnie has been a lightning rod for Pitt this season, willing the Panthers to a couple of wins in a similar fashion as Trey McGowens did a year ago during his freshman campaign. Against Georgia Tech on Feb. 8, Champagnie willed the Panthers to a home win with 30 points on 12 of 17 shooting (3 of 4 from beyond the arc) and nine rebounds. He was excellent through and through, and gave Pitt a shot in the arm in a game where both Terrell Brown and Eric Hamilton fouled out.
Since then, however, Champagnie has struggled mightily shooting the basketball. In the past six games--all losses--Champagnie has shot just 32.8 percent from the field, including a dismal 17.9 percent from three-point land. Not good. Still, he's averaged 11 points and 7.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game, showing that he still brings value to the team when he's not shooting well.

If he could shoot well today, that would be a nice feather in his cap to end his freshman campaign. I expect him to draw a ton of attention from Yellow Jackets defenders though following his monster game against them a month ago, and his most valuable offensive role today may be that of a decoy. If he's under pressure a lot today, look for McGowens and Au'Diese Toney to pick up the slack.

The Odds
According to ESPN, Pitt has a 27.4 percent chance of winning tonight's game. In KenPom's college basketball rankings, Pitt's slide has them sitting at no. 109 in the country, while Georgia Tech has risen all the way to no. 73. The game tips off at 9 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.

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

Posted: 03/04/2020 at 8:37PM



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Pitt at Georgia Tech - March 4, 2020 - 9PM - Live Game Thread -- Ryan Schaitkin 03/04/2020 8:37PM
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