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4-1-Zoo: Previewing Pitt at USF

Hugh Robertson, Gilbert Brown

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PITTSBURGH — No. 4 Pitt travels south to play South Florida tonight at 9 p.m. Here’s the breakdown…

STORYLINE

Pitt (25-4, 13-3 Big East) is at the top of the Big East standings but reeling a bit, coming off two losses in its past three games. South Florida (9-20, 3-13) is in a much different situation, sitting next to last in the Big East Standings.

Since the Bulls joined the Big East, they’ve really had success against just two teams — DePaul and Providence. Rarely do they ever win on the road.

Tonight presents an interesting matchup, though, as the Panthers visit USF — a place they lost last season, 70-61. Pitt was ranked No. 17 at the time. Pitt also struggled against the Bulls earlier this year at home, taking a while to put the Bulls away in a 67-55 victory.

SCOUTING REPORT

As its record indicates, South Florida does very little well on a game-by-game basis. Nothing is very consistent aside from losing.

That said, the Bulls did one thing very well in the first game between these two teams — shoot the 3-pointer. It helped keep the game close at halftime and gave them a shot in the second half.

Center Augustus Gilchrist is the team’s best player, averaging 13 points a game and over 6 rebounds as well. Since losing to Pitt, Gilchrist has scored 54 points in two games.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Gilchrist. He scored 10 points against Pitt Feb. 16 and has caught fire since then. Pitt has had trouble scoring lately and can’t afford to give this guy a quick start.

When he gets rolling he gives USF a chance to win games it has no business being in.

KEY MATCHUP

Gary McGhee against Gilchrist. Really, this shouldn’t be an issue. McGhee has performed well all season and matched Gilchrist the last time these two teams played.

But like I stated above, Gilchrist can put USF in positive positions — positions the Bulls don’t deserve to be in — because he can score and rebound the basketball. Eliminate him and you eliminate USF’s one big threat.

INTERESTING STAT

Even though Pitt has struggled lately at shooting the ball, the Panthers still rank 248 spots ahead of USF in field goal percentage. Pitt shoots 47.3 percent from the field (No. 25) while the Bulls shoot just 41.9 percent (No. 273)

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog
Twitter.com/Chris_Gates
Chris.Gates@cbsradio.com