The Panthers finished the Vivid Seats Legends Classic 2-0 in Brooklyn, New York.
Pitt struggled mightily against Michigan in the second half, losing to VCU in the tournament’s four-loss consolation game. Jeff Capel’s team returns to the Petersen Events Center on Sunday afternoon and faces the state of Alabama.
Here are five things to know ahead of Pitt’s (1-3) matchup against Alabama State (0-4).
all little things
Pitt starts a five-game homestand to hone the small nuances in determining win or loss. The Panthers rank 329th in turnovers (16.3) and 337th in three-point percentage (25.5%) nationally. The team has also dealt with common foul problems for Blake Hinson and Federiko Federiko.
“What we have to do better is play without foul play,” said Capel after the VCU defeat. “That’s the main thing. Someone mentioned foul problems in the first half. It upsets us, it throws us out of rhythm.”
Pitt struggles to do the small things necessary to ensure victory against tough opponents. West Virginia and Michigan, two potential tournament teams, and the VCU presented challenges the Panthers couldn’t handle due to fouls and turnovers. Pitt shoots just over 40% in four games. The Panthers are 7-0 all-time against Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) teams.
The Diaz-Graham twins played their best games against the Rams from the bench. In 30 minutes, Guillermo had a total of seven points and seven rebounds. Jorge scored 10 and added five rebounds in 20 minutes. The 6-foot-11 forwards brought a spark to the court.
They came in and gave great energy,” Capel said. “Played hard on both sides of the ball. Made some great games for us. But the main thing was that they just brought energy and really ignited the rest of our guys.”
According to CBS Sports College basketball insider Jon Rothstein, John Hugley is expected to be back with the Panthers on Sunday. Hugley played 22 minutes against Michigan in his only appearance of the year, contributing nine points and a rebound. The addition of Hugley to a more confident pairing of Diaz Graham brothers Hinson and Federiko gives the Panthers depth up front.
Looking for Sting
The Alabama State Hornets are yet to win a game before the start of the 2022-23 season. The state of Alabama, which originated from the SWAC, has posted four double-digit losses. The team lost to UAB (with 41 points), USC (38), Pepperdine (29), and San Jose State (13).
In a way, the team is improving. Every loss was always less of a difference. Alabama State isn’t a great team and the Panthers should find success on the glass, a catalyst for Pitt with the upfield punch. The team has the 41st most points of any in the country with an average of 74.2.
Guard TJ Madlock leads the team averaging 14.8 points per game and shooting 39% from the field. Isaiah Range is another powerful Guardian in the rotation. The range averages 29.5 minutes per game and 10 points, but only shoots at a 30% clip.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Pitt is favored by 21 points in Sunday afternoon’s final odds. The line shifted from 20.5 points at the opening mark.
Pitt finished the 2021-22 season 15-17 against the spread. The Panthers are 2-2 ATS this year after a couple of lines preheated VCU by 4.5 ahead of the lead and the Panthers lose by four. The state of Alabama was 19-11 against the spread last year.
The over/under for the game is set at 144.5 points and Pitt is on the money line at -3500 while Alabama State is at +1300.
broadcast, radio info
The Pitt-Alabama State game will air at 2 p.m. on ACC Network Extra. Jason Earle and Julius Page got the call from The Pete. The matchup can also be heard live on Sportradio 93.7 The Fan.
Pitt welcomes Fairleigh Dickinson in the last game before Thanksgiving on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.