PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Pitt plays Albany tonight in the Panthers’ season opener at the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt is ranked No. 10 in the country to start the season and features a relatively inexperienced squad, as seniors Brad Wanamaker, Gary McGhee and Gilbert Brown have left to graduation. Stepping in will be sophomores J.J. Moore and Lamar Patterson and freshmen Khem Birch and Malcolm Gilbert — all likely to see considerable minutes this season.
But enough about what you already know. Let’s take a look at Pitt’s first opponent: the Albany Great Danes.
Albany was picked to finish fourth in the America East Conference after finishing third last season. Boston University was picked to win the conference.
The Danes return four starters from last season. Their second and third leading scorers are back — guards Logan Aronhalt (14.6 points/game) and Mike Black (12.3 points/game) — along with junior forward Blake Metcalf and sophomore forward Luke Devlin.
The Danes aren’t very big, and their most impactful bodies down low — Devlin (6-foot-8) and sophomore John Puk (6-foot-10) — are rather inexperienced.
Aside from junior Dante Taylor and senior Nasir Robinson, Pitt is pretty young down low as well. It should be interesting to see how Birch, Gilbert and sophomore Talib Zanna perform in the post tonight and moving forward in the early non-conference slate.
Jamie Dixon always says Pitt tries to schedule non-conference opponents that he expects to be at the top of the their conference by year’s end, and on the surface it looks like Albany will be one of those teams this season.
Pitt has handled things pretty well in exhibition play. Oustide of the last five minutes against Kentucky Wesleyan, which Dixon placed the blame on himself for completely emptying the bench too early, the Panthers have had little trouble.
Albany is an upgrade in talent, there’s no doubt, but I’d expect the Panthers to have an easy go of things against the Danes.
Pitt is healthy, the Zoo is sold out and there’s a bunch of young talent ready to begin their Pitt careers. It should be an exciting night at the Pete.