Through four games, Pitt has looked excellent. Their 89 points per game are ranked in the top 15 in the nation and their 22.5 assists per game rank second. But tonight, they will face competition that is different than the rest. Coming the the Pete tonight are the Purdue Boilermakers, who are 6-0 and out of the Big Ten.
Ranked as the 11th team in the nation, Purdue is a team that looks to have a successful season and make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. They are led by their 7’2’’ Center Isaac Haas. Haas has been one of the best shooters in the nation this year, shooting 75.6% from the field. His 15 points per game are tops on the team and he is only averaging 19 minutes per game, which is not even near the top of his team. Along with a very successful offense, the Boilermakers posses one of the best defenses in the nation, allowing only 57.3 points per game, good for 6th in the nation. With the Panthers high scoring offense and a strong Purdue defense, this game looks like it could be very interesting.
For the Panthers, Michael Young has turned into the leader that everyone expected. In his last game against Kent State, he led the Panthers in scoring with 23 points and currently leads the team with 18 points per game on the season. Along with points, he also leads the Panthers in assists per game (4.8), field goal percentage (64.4), rebounds per game (8), and blocks per game (1.3). Jamel Artis is also turning into the leader we all hoped, as he is close behind Young in just about every category. Young, Artis, and the rest of the Panthers are going to have a tough test going up against one of the nations top defenses, but by the looks of it, they shouldn’t have much of a problem.
This year, the Panthers have attributed their offensive success to their great distribution of the ball, as well as a lack of turnovers. By just watching the Panthers on offense, you can see that they are a different team. They are full of athletes and have turned themselves into one of the most unselfish teams when it comes to passing the ball. With such a big game coming up tonight, it is hoped that Pitt will not crack under the pressure and navigate away from what has made them successful this year.
Not only is this a good test for the Panthers being a non conference game, but it is a big opportunity for them to squeeze into the top 25. With a win tonight and another win later in the week, Pitt could see themselves in the top 25 for the first time this year. With only 2 non conference games against ranked opponents (this being the second of the 2 as the Gonzaga game was cancelled), they will probably not have a chance to show that they can compete with above average teams until they make it into ACC play come January.
This game will tip-off at 9 p.m. this evening on ESPN 2. Check back on the Burgh Blog in the next few days for a recap of tonight’s game.
Written By Burgh Blog Co-Creator Brandon Stiehler
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