#51 Pittsburgh Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Pittsburgh Panthers

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #51
Conference Rank:  #7 ACC

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#51 Pittsburgh Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Pittsburgh Basketball Tickets

Pittsburgh moves into the new-look ACC this season, and they should fit right in.  Pittsburgh has long been a formidable basketball school.  Coach Jamie Dixon has brought the Panthers to new heights in his nine seasons at the helm.  They won the Big East regular season title twice in the last decade, and they have a tournament win in there as well.  Their NCAA performances have been a mixed bag. With a new crop of strong opponents, Pittsburgh will have their work cut out for them trying to breakthrough to the elite of the ACC.

2012-2013 record:  24-9, 12-6 (Big East)
2012-2013 postseason:  NCAA Tournament – 2nd round
Coach:  Jamie Dixon
Coach Record:  262-86 at Pittsburgh, 262-86 overall

Who’s Out:
Two big contributors for the Panthers have departed.  Trey Woodall, their senior leader and leading scorer, is no longer in Pittsburgh.  He led the way with 11.5 points per game.  His court presence was huge for Dixon’s team.  He will be a big loss.  Stephen Adams will literally be a big loss.  As a freshman he averaged 7.2 points per game and less than seven rebounds.  But the 7-0 New Zealander had upside for miles and the NBA noticed.  The Oklahoma City Thunder selected him 12th overall in July’s draft.  The Panthers also lose Trey Ziegler and J.J. Moore, two players who occupied a lot of minutes for Dixon last season.

Who’s In:
There are five new recruits coming in to play at Pittsburgh, and at least a few of them will play right away.  They hit almost every position in recruiting, netting two forwards, a center, and a guard.  The prized recruit is Mike Young, a forward from New Jersey.  He is the highest rated prospect of the five coming in.  He is an athletic guy that can play anywhere on the floor.  To replace Adams, Joseph Uchebo steps in.  He transfers from Chipola Junior College.  At 6-10 he can man the middle and hopefully be an enforcer.  Chris Jones, a redshirt guard-forward, will get a chance to play this year after sitting out his freshman campaign.

Who to Watch:
The man for the Panthers is going to be Talib Zanna.  He was the third leading scorer last season.  He has been steadily getting better each season he has been in the program.  His role will increase a lot as well since he is one of two seniors on the roster.  Getting his field goal percentage up will be a big component to his improvement as a player.  He was nearly 50% from the field last year.  Since he will likely have the ball in his hands a lot, being deadly from the field would help this team a lot.  Lamar Patterson will be his fellow senior-in-crime.  He was the best 3-point shooter on the team last year.

Final Projection:
Pittsburgh is always a good team.  They are not always a great team, but they are always a tough out.  They play really strong defense year in and year out.  Last year they held opponents to only 56 points per game while holding teams to under 40% shooting.  They probably would have won more than 24 games if they had an easier time scoring.  With the new crop of freshmen coming in, the chemistry will be key.  Outside of Zanna, Patterson, and James Robinson, not many players have logged playing time.  They will have to gel quickly with a tough ACC slate.  They are going to win their share of games.  They will probably post a winning conference record.  Will they win enough to make it back to the NCAA tournament?  With the roster changes, it is difficult to see that happen.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NIT

Projected Starting Five:
James Robinson, Sophomore, Guard, 6.1 points per game
Cameron Wright, Junior, Guard, 4.3 points per game
Durand Johnson, Sophomore, Forward, 4.3 points per game
Lamar Patterson, Senior, Forward, 10.0 points per game
Talib Zanna, Senior, Forward, 9.6 points per game

By the numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.2 (125th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.0 (8, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.2 (20, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.2 (28, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.9 (294, 11)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.2 (NA, NA)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.8 (255, 12)
Rebound Margin: 6.7 (14, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.3 (7, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.0 (21, 2)

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruiting:
#96 Mike Young


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