Tonight, the Pitt Panthers (0-2) take on the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (1-0) in a regional round game of the Progressive Legends Classic. It will be a 7 PM start time at the Peterson Events Center. The game will be telecast on ESPN 3.
This will be the first meeting between the schools.
Fresh off losing their first two games for the first time since the 1996-97′ season, the Panthers go into the game lead by Jared Wilson-Frame (17.5 PPG) on a team with 11 new players in year two of the Kevin Stallings era.
Meanwhile, the Gauchos started their season off on a little bit better of a note. They defeated North Dakota State 85-66, and watched as sophomore Max Heidegger dropped 33 points in the first game of the year including 8 three-pointers. They are led by first year head coach Joe Pasternack.
“Growing pains”, a term Stallings has used often in describing the troubles the young Panthers team, have surely been prevalent in the early going. In some sort of consolation, the next win will be the Panthers’ 1,600th win as a program. They would be the fifth ACC team to reach the milestone.
As far as the starting lineups, Pitt has put out a different one in both games. Only Wilson-Frame and Ryan Luther have started in the team’s first two games as they are trying to find stability in this growing year. UC Santa Barbara sent out Leland King II, Gabe Vincent, Jalen Canty, Heidegger, and Christian Terrell. Terrell started in place of Marcus Jackson who should regain his spot upon returning from injury.
While Pitt is full of young scholarship players looking to make an impact, one special return happened for UCSB in their previous game. Senior guard Gabe Vincent tore his ACL last season and missed the final 8 games of the year. He made his return to the starting lineup in the win over North Dakota State. He likely will be there again tonight.
Not only is Pitt struggling with roster turnover this year, they are turning the ball over a lot early in the season. They are averaging 16.0 turnovers per game in the first two and have allowed 22.0 points off of those turnovers.
The first ever meeting between the teams should be an indication of the direction of the programs over the course of the rest of the year.