Pittsburgh 2007 NCAA Tournament Capsule
Pittsburgh Panthers - Big East (22-7, 12-4)
Seed: #3 - West Region
Big Wins: 1/13 Georgetown (74-69), 1/29 at Villanova (65-59), 3/8 vs Marquette (89-79)
Bad Losses: 12/21 at Oklahoma State (89-95), 1/21 Marquette (74-77), 2/12 Louisville (53-66)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2006, Second Round loss to Bradley
Coach: Jamie Dixon (3-3 in 3 NCAA appearances)
Probable Pittsburgh Starters:
Levance Fields, Sophomore, Guard, 9.3 ppg, 4.5 apg, 3.6 rpg
Antonio Graves, Senior, Guard, 9.4 ppg, 2.4 apg
Mike Cook, Junior, Guard, 10.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Levon Kendall, Senior, Forward, 5.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Aaron Gray, Senior, Center, 14.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.7 bpg
Key Roleplayers for Pittsburgh:
Ronald Ramon, Junior, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 2.3 apg
Keith Benjamin, Junior, Guard, 3.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Sam Young, Sophomore, Forward, 6.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Tyrell Biggs, Sophomore, Forward, 3.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Pitt knows what they are good at and they play within themselves. They will make smart passes and get the ball inside to center Aaron Gray, who averages 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds. Despite having three very capable long range shooters in Antonio Graves, Levance Fields and Ronald Ramon, the Panthers rarely force up a bad shot and usually move the ball down low. Gray is a dominate force inside and if he does not touch the ball on two consecutive possessions, the rest of the team should have to run laps. Levon Kendall does the dirty work underneath and Sam Young can be a major scoring threat off of the bench aside Gray.
Pittsburgh has one of the best assist to turnover ratios in the nation and that is because of Fields. The sophomore has the speed to get to the basket and the smarts to run a consistent and smooth offense. With Ramon an experienced option off the bench, Pitt will not run into any problems at the point.
Why Pittsburgh Can Disappoint:
The defense is good, but Pitt does not force a lot of turnovers and get easy fast break points. Usually that is not a big deal, but if the offense is sputtering in the half-court set, a fast break bucket or two could be exactly what they need to get back in the flow. The team free-throw shooting could be better and most of that is due to Gray shooting just 54.8% from the charity stripe. He is a liability on the line down the stretch and sooner or later Pitt will find themselves in a close game.
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Who To Watch:
We know the point guards are good and the big guys are good, but Pitt has a couple scoring threats on the wings as well. Graves and East Carolina transfter Mike Cook both average around ten points per game and the Panthers need that scoring to compliment Gray’s game.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.1 (129th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.4 (44, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.1 (44, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.0 (49, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.6 (242, 12)
Rebound Margin: 4.6 (40, 5)
Assists Per Game: 17.4 (11, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.7 (18, 2)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Final Four loss to Florida
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