Shortly before tip Tuesday night, Pittsburgh announced that starters Justin Champagnie and Au’Diese Toney are out. Champagnie, Pitt’s leading scorer and the leading rebounder in the ACC, will miss 6-8 weeks with a knee injury.
The reigning ACC Player of the Week, Champagnie was set to enter Tuesday’s contest averaging 17.8 points and a conference-leading 12.3 rebounds per game. Before foul trouble limited his time on the floor against Miami, Champagnie produced back-to-back games in which he scored at least 20 points and grabbed at least 20 rebounds.
Though he was a starter last year and a key contributor as a freshman, Toney has taken on a much larger role so far this season than he ever has before. His scoring average (16.2 ppg) is up by 6.7 points per game and is tied for the ninth-best in the ACC. He’s shooting 40.9 percent from three which is easily a career-best, as are his 2.7 assists per game.
Needless to say, the loss of these two players is enormous for the Panthers.
On the flip side, Louisville’s Josh Nickelberry did not appear on the pregame unavailable list for the first time this season. He and starting point guard Carlik Jones, who missed Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin because of Covid issues, are both good to go.