Louisville Cardinals (3-20, 1-11) at Pittsburgh Panthers (16-7, 9-3)
Game Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Petersen Events Center: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ACC Network
Announcers: Jay Alter (play-by-play) and Malcolm Huckaby (analyst)
Favorite: Pittsburgh by 15.5
Series: Louisville leads, 21-8
Last Meeting: Pittsburgh won 75-54 on Jan. 18 in Louisville
Projected Starting Lineups:
- G El Ellis (6-3, 180, Sr.)
- G/F Mike James (6-5, 215, R-Fr.)
- F J.J. Traynor (6-8, 190, Jr.)
- F Jae’Lyn Withers (6-9, 220, R-Jr.)
- F Sydney Curry (6-8, 270, Sr.)
- G Nelly Cummings (6-0, 185, Gr.)
- G Greg Elliott (6-3, 180, Gr.)
- G Jamarius Burton (6-4, 200, Gr.)
- F Blake Hinson (6-7, 235, Jr.)
- C Federiko Federiko (6-11, 220, Fr.)
One of the ACC’s handful of NCAA tournament bubble squads, Pittsburgh could ill-afford the Quadrant 4 loss that a Tuesday night defeat at the hands of visiting Louisville would represent. The Panthers enter the contest riding a three-game winning streak and sit just a half game out of first-place in the conference standings.
The strength of this Pitt team is its backcourt, which is deep, talented and experienced. Its key quartet of Jamarius Burton, Nelly Cummings, Greg Elliott, and Nike Sibande has combined for 5,092 points in 13,273 minutes over 522 career games. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Pitt is one of four programs (along with UAB, Chattanooga, and Texas) in the NCAA with four or more players with 125+ games played.
Burton has been the team’s standout performer so far this season, averaging 16.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Burton isn’t flashy, but he’s a strong, hard-nosed guard who has drawn comparisons to former Panther standout Bradley Wanamaker. He’s also a tenacious defender who loves to spot and take away what an opposing player likes to do the most.
Burton is averaging 18.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in conference play. He is shooting 49.7 percent (82-of-165) from the field and 91.8 percent (45-of-49) from the foul line in ACC play and has scored 15 or more points in nine of 12 league games.
Junior forward Blake Hinson, who played his first two seasons at Ole Miss, has been the team’s most reliable outside threat. He’s averaging 15.8 ppg and has hit at least one three-pointer in every ga,e but two this season. Hinson is one of two players in the ACC averaging 15.5 or more points (15.8 ppg.) and 6.0 or more rebounds per game (6.5 rpg.) with 50 or more three-point field goals (57 3FG).
Pitt is tied for second in the ACC in three-point field goals (9.04 3pg.) with Blake Hinson (2.48 3pg. - 6th) and Greg Elliott (2.22 3pg. - 12th) both ranking among the league leaders in threes per game. A year ago, the Panthers were 14th in the ACC at just 5.38 three-point field goals per game. Pitt was 14-of-34 from beyond the arc in its 21-point win at Louisville last month.
—Louisville has lost 20 games for just the second-time in the 109-year history of the program. A loss to Pitt Tuesday night would set a new single-season record for losses.
—Louisville has won 17 of its last 20 games against Pitt.
—Pitt is tied for 14th in the NCAA with a combined eight Quad 1 and Quad 2 victories. The Panthers four Quad 1 wins is second most in the ACC and tied for 16th most in the NCAA.
—Louisville has already lost eight games by 20 points or more this season, the 20-point losses in one season in the history of Cardinal basketball.
—Pitt has won 15 of its past 19 games with its 15 wins since Nov. 20 tied for 19th most (tied for 9th most among power conference teams) in the NCAA in that span.
—Louisville is 6-35 over its last 41 games dating back to last season.
—Pitt used the transfer portal to add three players to the 2022-23 roster who have all been instrumental to the team’s success. Nelly Cummings (Bowling Green/Colgate), Greg Elliott (Marquette) and Blake Hinson (Ole Miss/ Iowa State) have now combined for 2,971 points, 953 rebounds and 553 assists over 337 career games.
—Louisville is 218-13 over the last 20 seasons and 15-1 over the last three when scoring 80 points or more. The Cards have eclipsed the 80-point mark just once this season.
—Louisville is 14-0 over the past 10 seasons when limiting opponents to no more than one three-point field goal.
—Since 2004, Louisville is 128-0 when leading by more than 10 points at halftime.
—Louisville has won 162 consecutive games when holding an opponent under 50 points.
—Louisville has won 157 consecutive games when scoring at least 85 points in regulation.
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Pittsburgh 80, Louisville 61