PITTSBURGH — No. 5 Pitt returns to play tonight at Providence for its first game in eight days at 7 p.m. on FSN Pittsburgh and 93-7 The Fan.
Pitt moved up one spot in the national rankings this week to No. 5 with a 13-1 record and 1-0 mark in Big East play. In their most recent game, the Panthers defeated No. 4 UConn at home, 78-63. Providence enters tonight’s game with an 11-4 record, 0-2 in the Big East, losing its last two games at Syracuse and at home against St. John’s.
The Friars have lost all of their high-profile, meaningful games so far this season. Most recently, they lost at home against St. John’s, 67-65 — a Red Storm team that defeated No. 13 Georgetown last night. Two games ago, Providence lost at Syracuse, 81-74.
Providence has been in most of its games, but hasn’t been able to get over the hump against top competition. The Friars also lost at Boston College earlier this year, 88-86.
PLAYER TO WATCH
This one’s easy. It’s Marshon Brooks. Brooks is a flat out shooter, averaging 23.1 points a game and 8.4 rebounds a game. At 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, he’ll likely be matched up against Pitt small forward Gilbert Brown tonight.
He scored 33 points against Alabama and 27 at Syracuse, so he’s been able to score points on quality competition.
And there you have it — it will be Gilbert Brown and whoever else Pitt coach Jamie Dixon throws at Brooks. Twice already this year, Pitt has been torched for big points by impact players — Scotty Hopson’s 27 points for Tennessee and Kemba Walker’s 31 for UConn.
The Panthers can’t give up numbers like those all year and expect to do well in Big East play. Tonight would be a good night to start. Providence plays in a lot of close games and Brooks can decide a game late if he’s given room.
Don’t be surprised to see Nasir Robinson match up against Brooks as well. Brooks does most of his scoring from close range. With Robinson being an undersized power forward with good mobility, he might be able to limit what Brooks and his 190-pound frame can do.
The rebounding battle is what you’ll want to take a look at tonight, as it seemingly always is in Big East play. Pitt is second in the country in rebounding average, pulling in 43.6 a game. Providence, however, isn’t far behind with an average of 41.1 rebounds a game.
You can join me in a live chat tonight while you watch the game! Just log on to 937thefan.com and click on the ‘Pitt at Providence Live Blog” post. There you will find the link to the live blog.
I’ll give you play by play of the action and my thoughts as the game goes on. You’re welcome to fire your thoughts back in real time. In simpler words, we’ll have a conversation during the game.
The live blog post will appear around 6 p.m. and the live blog will start around 6:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!!!
Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog