Dugout – Personnel Picks: Can Pitt beat Louisville?

The Pitt vs. Louisville is as one-sided as possible. The Panthers have been dominated by the Cardinals over the years, owning a 21-7 advantage all time. Pitt is just 2-5 against Louisville under Jeff Capel. The Panthers are just 1-12 all-time in Louisville, with the only win coming back against the Cardinals in 2006.

Louisville has been one of college basketball’s primary powerhouses over the years, but this season the program is hardly recognizable. The Cardinals started the season 2-16. Louisville will snap a seven-game losing streak into tonight’s game as they come off a 21-point loss against North Carolina on Saturday.

The Cardinals are under first year head coach Kenny Payne. Needless to say, he has a long way to go to turn things around in government by his first year. Louisville has struggled this year, but it is being led by one of the best guards in the ACC. Ellis averages 17.7 per game with 4.7 assists. No one else on the list is currently hitting double digits.

Pitt snapped a two-game losing streak on Saturday with a sound 71-60 win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The Panthers were led by sixth man Nike Sibande, who came off the bench to score 21 points. Pete goes into this game with a 5-2 record in ACC play, and he’ll need a win to keep up with the other teams in the top half of the league.

Can Pitt avoid an upset and win against his opponent in Louisville for the first time since 2006? The Panther-Lair.com team presents their picks.

Steven Gertz (13-5)kisa: No reason to get cute here. The Louisville Cardinals are one of the worst teams in the country, and by far the worst Power 5 team. There are reasons for that, reasons that work in favor of the Pittsburgh Panthers. For starters, they only turn the ball around on about 25% of their holdings, and the sheer size of them isn’t being forced; Louisville is the second worst team in the country in this regard. The Cardinals don’t hit the ball very well from anywhere either. The only thing that could cause a problem for Pete is that they access the free line at a decent rate. But the Panthers are rolling in now and are mature enough not to look beyond the ACC road game. They may have come out a little flat early – UNC did the same thing recently – but I don’t think Louisville can last any run they run.
Prediction: Pete 75, Louisville 62

Houston Wilson (12-6)Similar to Georgia Tech, this is a game that hurts the House more by losing than winning. Louisville is an absolute mess. There is simply no reason for Pete to lose this match and I think they will dominate from start to finish. The most important thing for Pete now is to keep getting wins against these teams that they have to beat so they don’t have a bad loss on their resume.
Prediction: Pete 79, Louisville 62

Matt Steinbrink (9-9): Pete didn’t have much success in Louisville. They are yet to win at the Yum Center and have struggled hard. With both teams positioned at the moment, this is a must for Pitt. They have to finish the streak and avoid more nasty losses as they try to grow their resume. For the most, with the exception of one game, the Cardinals have dominated league play. Pete hasn’t really gotten anyone out of the gym, so I don’t know if that’s in the cards. The key is to jump on them early and they will likely roll. The Panthers need this and a nice little streak to keep up the momentum.
Prediction: Pete 76, Louisville 64

Jim Hammett (11-7)In his first year at Pitt, Jeff Capel upset Louisville. Now in its fifth season, he’ll be looking to avoid a major upset. Louisville isn’t what we’re used to seeing from this program, and this will probably go down as the worst season in school history. It was the Cardinals that bad. Ellis is a very dangerous player, and of course some of the guys on the roster are highly rated right out of high school, so you have to have some respect for them, but this is a team that Pete needs to get on and win. The Panthers are the better team, and I expect them to show that.
Prediction: Pete 75, Louisville 62

Chris Beck (12-6): Never mind the jinxes: we should all pick a house over this one. The Panthers have been better than Louisville this season, and while the Georgia Tech football game in the fall was a stark reminder that even a struggling team can pick up a win now and then—perhaps more in basketball than in football—I’m sticking with Pete. My only concern, which was evident at the Georgia Tech game this past Saturday, is severe dehydration. The Panthers went 5:44 without a bucket late in that game, but unlike Clemson and Duke, the Yellow Jackets weren’t good enough to take advantage. I don’t think Louisville will be good enough to take advantage of a similar situation tonight, but I also don’t know if Pete will keep his turnover as low tonight as he did on Saturday (which helped keep GT out). Ultimately, it will be in the Panthers’ interests to avoid the drought of scoring all together. If Nellie Cummings can carry on the second half that he had at Georgia Tech, I think they’ll be fine.
Prediction: Pitt 81, Louisville 68

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