Wednesday night, the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils (13-2, 1-2 ACC) travel to the Petersen Events Center to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers (8-8, 0-3 ACC) in a conference match up both teams surely would love to win.
Despite a couple of good efforts, Pitt’s lack of leadership and overall talent hurt them in their three ACC games to this point including a 14-point loss to Virginia Tech that was closer than the score indicated. Duke, on the other hand, is one of the most talented teams in the nation as their No. 7 overall ranking suggests. They suffered a set back against North Carolina State in their last game.
The Panthers will look to build off of their last game when they shot a season-high 46.2 percent from beyond the arc. If they want to compete with the strong Duke team, the Panthers will need to replicate that shooting performance.
They’ll need a chunk of that to come from guard Parker Stewart who has heated up immensely over the past five games as he’s averaging 11.2 points per game in that span.
Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski is hunting his 500th career road win and will turn to big guns Grayson Allen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III to get it for him. Duke is averaging 93.3 points per game, about 25.0 more per game than Pittsburgh, and play incredible defense. It’s a big mismatch so Pitt will need to be on it’s game.
The Panthers lead the all-time series 9-7 but fell in the previous matchup against the Blue Devils by eight late last season.
Krzyzewski endorsed Pitt’s head coach Kevin Stallings Tuesday in his media presser.
“They are a building team,” Krzyzewski said. You’re talking about building a program. That’s what (Stallings) is doing. Kevin is an outstanding coach. He knows how to build programs. These guys are getting playing time. They play well together. I see them as a building program and a good one. They can shoot the ball, and they seem to have real good chemistry.”
Pitt has an impressive 14-5 all-time mark against Top 10 teams at the Petersen Events Center and if they want to improve that mark tonight, it’s going to take a near flawless games.
That is something the Panthers have yet to play.