Saturday at 4:30 p.m. the Hokies travel to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers in conference play. The Hokies have been hit or miss without Robinson, but were able to pick up a solid win earlier in the week. For the Panthers, they’re losers of eight straight games and will be looking to get back on track at home.
Usually, I like to give my keys to the game and say what Tech should do to counter their opposition, but with this game I won’t. The Hokies just need to play their game. This Tech team lives and dies by their shooting, especially the three ball. When the Hokies are shooting the ball well, they can keep with almost any team in the country, but when they have an off night; they look terrible.
On the road this season, the Hokies have been pretty terrible. As a team they score less, shoot poorly, defend poorly, and often times look sluggish. With March just around the corner, it’ll be important for Virginia Tech to not play down to opponents and come out of the gates on the ball.
For Virginia Tech’s opponent Pitt, there’s not a lot to say. The Panthers are coming in on an eight game losing streak and have looked terrible. On the season, they stand at 12-13 with some bad losses and only two really solid wins at home against Louisville and Florida State. Offensively, this team scores well at 73 ppg, but don’t shoot particularly well. To be fair, Pitt has the ability to get hot and put up points, but haven’t done so recently.
If you look at the Panthers roster you’ll see it’s pretty similar to the Hokies. Pitt has only two guys 6’9” or taller and rely heavily on guard play for their scoring. Of their 73 ppg, three of their guards combine for forty-one of their seventy-three points.
Two of their three main scorers mentioned earlier are also shooters. They both shot around 39% from three and can knock it down when left open. Typically the Hokies don’t allow a ton of open shots, but two games ago Clemson got wide open looks left and right all game long. Tech has to be disciplined, close out on shooters, and not get blown by off the dribble or else Pitt could get hot.
The Hokies should win this game pretty comfortably on paper. With that being said, Tech has had some rough luck this year with teams shooting the lights out against. UVA, Clemson, and Louisville all had one of their (if not their absolute) best shooting games of the season all against us. Hopefully that doesn’t happen Saturday with Pitt, but if it does, the Hokies have to be up for the challenge.
Tech hopefully can get it together and grab a win. With games against UVA, Duke, and FSU around the corner and March closing in, losing this game could be costly for seeding and momentum. A lot’s riding on this one in my opinion, but I feel the Hokies will be up to the task.
Hokies grab a road win 68-59 and come back ready for UVA on Monday...