The Panthers face off against the Northwestern Wildcats tonight at 8:30 p.m. in the championship game for the Fort Myers Tip-Off in Fort Myers, Fla.
Pitt (5-2) advanced to the tournament finale by narrowly holding on to beat Kansas State 63-59 in a game that was both thrilling and sloppy at times, a combination that is quickly becoming a trademark for the 2019-20 Panthers squad.
Northwestern (3-2) beat Bradley 78-51 to punch their own ticket to the final game of the tournament, though it has not been an easy start to the season for the Wildcats–Northwestern has lost already to Merrimack (KenPom no. 267) and Radford (KenPom no. 141) in the early part of the season. Pitt also has a bad loss on its record, though, having lost to Nicholls State (KenPom no. 236).
- Today’s game marks the fifth matchup between Pitt and Northwestern, with the most recent coming on Dec. 28, 1996. Pitt holds the series advantage with three wins, while Northwestern has beaten the Panthers just once, all the way back in 1962.
- Following its win over Kansas State, Pitt now has two wins over opponents ranked more highly than them by KenPom’s rankings (Florida State at no. 17, K-State at no. 63). Northwestern, by comparison, has one: a win over no. 34 Providence.
- Kansas State enters the 2019-20 season coming off of three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight run in 2017-18, followed by a first-round exit last season as the no. 4 seed Wildcats were upset by no. 13 UC-Irvine.
- Northwestern is led by head coach Chris Collins, now in his sixth season with the program. Collins has 104 wins and 98 losses with the Wildcats, and he led them to their first and only ever NCAA Tournament appearance following
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