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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Former President and convicted felon Donald Trump menaces at the camera during his hearing.
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

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Former President and convicted felon Donald Trump menaces at the camera during his hearing.
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Pitt men’s basketball gears up for ACC Tournament matchup

Pitt+men%E2%80%99s+basketball+gears+up+for+ACC+Tournament+matchup
Kelechi Anucha | Staff Photographer

It’s the postseason for Pitt men’s basketball. The Panthers have to win their ACC Tournament quarterfinal matchup against Wake Forest to keep their hopes of earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament alive.

Regular season matchups

The Demon Deacons and Panthers matched up two times during the regular season with the home team winning each matchup.

In Oakland, the Panthers won 77-72 by way of a second half comeback. Down in Winston Salem, the Demon Deacons won 91-58 and led for all but 53 seconds of the game. 

The Panthers won the first of the two matchups because redshirt junior Will Jeffress shut down Wake Forest junior center Efton Reid in the second half. Offensively, first-year guard Carlton “Bub” Carrington and junior guard Ishmael Leggett exploded for 17 and 14 points, respectively. 

Along with Carrington and Leggett’s scoring outburst in the second half, the Panthers shot 4-9 beyond the arc and held Wake Forest to a lowly 3-14 from three-point range.

The Demon Deacons and Panthers were the opposite throughout their second matchup on Feb. 20. 

Pitt shot 13 more three-pointers than Wake Forest in their second matchup, but made one less than the Demon Deacons. The Panthers finished the night shooting 9-33 from deep while the Demon Deacons made half of their attempts, shooting 10-20 from beyond the arc.

Efficiency from the three guards

The Panthers’ three guards, Carrington, Leggett and first-year Jaland Lowe, are always a focal point of the Panthers’ offense. But their importance will increase with junior guard Cameron Hildreth’s ability to slow down senior forward Blake Hinson. 

In the Panthers’ first matchup against Wake Forest, the trio of guards shot 43.5% from the field and 42.8% from deep, which allowed Hinson to find more open looks in the second half. Hinson made four of his five shots in the second half because of the respect the guards earned against the Demon Deacons defense. 

In the second game, the three guards shot 33.3% from the field and 36.8% from beyond the arc, allowing Wake Forest to zone in on defending Hinson even more in the second half. Hinson missed five of his seven looks in the second half because of the guards inability to take advantage of their matchup.

Tournament implications

Pitt’s 21-10 overall record and 12-8 record may look pretty to the naked eye, but the Panthers have to win against the Demon Deacons on Thursday afternoon. 

Saying a team with more than 20 wins in the ACC is solely outside of the NCAA Tournament with a loss sounds ludicrous, but it’s sadly the truth for the Panthers.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has the Panthers as the fifth team out of the NCAA Tournament and the Demon Deacons as the third team out of the NCAA Tournament.

If Pitt defeats Wake Forest, the Panthers will take out a team ahead of them on the bubble and boost their own resume.

Pitt fans can watch the Panthers attempt to boost their March Madness resume on Thursday on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m. or 30 minutes after the completion of the North Carolina-Florida State matchup.

About the Contributor
Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer