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More Pitt Notes

BBR has more on our match-up against Pitt in its usual outstanding game preview:

Pittsburgh's defense allows 62.8 points game on a paltry 40.7% field goal shooting while allowing just 30.8% shooting from three-point distance. Led by 7'0 270lb senior center Aaron Gray, the Panthers out-rebound opponents by 4.9 caroms and average 5.3 blocks a game.

On offense, Pittsburgh tries to go inside-out in hopes of getting Gray going in the paint or setting up their outside marksmen for open three-point shots.

While Gray is a skilled big man and a load for most any team to handle in the paint, he needs room to operate. If the Panthers' shooters are not hitting from outside, opponents tend to sag to help inside, causing the offense to sputter. They lack a go-to scorer who can take over the team when points are needed.

A key to the game will be UCLA's defensive pressure. The Bruins have a decided quickness advantage on the perimeter and must pressure the Panther guards mercilessly to prevent easy entry passes into the post and to disrupt any offense flow.

Pittsburgh averages 71.7 points a game on 47.5% shooting and 38.1% from beyond the arc. They take good care of the ball averaging just 12.0 turnovers per game and have a 1.5 assist-turnover-ratio as as a team. Pittsburgh is not a good free-throw shooting team, averaging just 66.3%.
Make sure to reach the whole preview which goes over individual defensive matchups. Yesterday I wrote that AA may be guarding up senior Antonio Graves. BBR thinks AA will probably matchup against Mike Cook, who is the "most athletic Panther on the floor." I think the later assertion is probably right.

Also two guys I didn’t mention yesterday: Ramon and Young. Ramon hit one of the key 3 pointers against VCU that helped Pitt pull away in OT. BBR has more on these two:
If Coach Jamie Dixon isn't getting the offensive production from his starters, he doesn't hesitate to go to his bench where he's received solid production. Ronald Ramon and Sam Young are offensive sparks off the bench, each one has led the Panthers in scoring in games this season.

Ramon is the team's three-point specialist, taking almost 75% of his shots from beyond the arc where he is shooting 44.6% from three-point distance. Young is more of a slashing forward and possesses a deadly midrange game.
Either way AA, DC, Shipp will have to make sure Pitt is not getting any open looks around the perimeter, while exerting ferocious pressure to make sure there are no easy entry passes down low.

Elsewhere if some of you news junkies still need to get your fill of Dixon-Howland storyline make sure to check out todays stories from Billy Witz (DN)) and Robert Kuwada (OCR). Nothing in there we didn’t already know.

Can’t you tell … I am ready to get on with this game. I wish we played it tonight. This anticipation is killing me.