Pitt Hoops Game Preview: Pitt vs. Wake Forest

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Trey McGowens vs. FSU in 2018

Pitt (10-3) begins their most challenging stretch of the season on Saturday, Jan. 4, as they face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-5) at the Petersen Events Center at noon.

Of course, Pitt’s 10-3 record does not necessarily reflect the ups and downs that the team faced throughout the fall, highlighted by an exhilarating opening win against Florida State, and an excruciating home loss against Nicholls State.

Pitt did seem to hit their stride toward the end of out-of-conference play, though, as they seemed better at limiting the turnovers and shooting a bit better from beyond the arc in wins over Northern Illinois, Binghamton, and Canisius.

Importantly, Ryan Murphy and Justin Champagnie shot a combined 9-13 from three-point range against Canisius, which also marked Gerald Drumgoole’s first game back from a lingering ankle injury. Drumgoole gives Pitt a longer bench for the always-competitive ACC slate, while Murphy and Champagnie provide optimism about Pitt’s ability to hit open shots from outside.

And now, Pitt has a chance to build on those improvements and show that they are once again ready to regularly compete with decent ACC teams, following a brutal stretch between the 2016-17 and 2018-19 seasons, during which Pitt won just seven total ACC games across three seasons.

In some ways, this is the perfect way for Pitt to start its ACC slate: a matchup against a middling ACC program in their own building, with a chance to show some consistency and improve to 2-1 in ACC play before hitting the road against North Carolina next week.

Given the highs and lows that the Panthers have already endured this season, it would come as no surprise to see Pitt win this afternoon, nor would it be a surprise to see Pitt lose. However, securing a victory would