PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — The Panthers showed a lot of character in last Saturday’s win over Oakland at the Petersen Center, but the only thing this opponent and their next one have in common is they play in the same state.
One thing does remain constant: after overcoming the biggest halftime deficit in school history, Pitt (4-0) will need to display a different kind of character when it meets No. 4 Michigan (3-0) in the semifinal round of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off Wednesday night at 9:30.
The Wolverines are the deadliest team in Division I from beyond the arc, led by preseason All-American Trey Burke.
“We’re a better defensive team this year, so we’ve all just got to defend. We’ve got to go out there and help each other,” said fellow guard Tray Woodall, who enters this game averaging seven assists and nearly 14 points per game for the Panthers despite a rough night from the field Saturday.
According to the senior, it is important for this revamped Pitt lineup to face NBA-caliber talent early in the season:
Offensively Pitt got significant help from forward J.J. Moore, who bolstered the team with a double-double (16 points, ten rebounds) off Jamie Dixon’s bench. Chances are, they will need every bit of that scoring depth against John Beilein’s Michigan squad.
“We all have our different roles, and we just play them well. We just want to execute down the stretch…people like myself, and Dante Taylor, we just want to provide some spark to our team, and be assertive,” he said.
Moore talked about what it means to him to play another marquee game at Pitt’s so-called home away from home, where it is 20-12 all-time under Jamie Dixon:
Depending on Wednesday’s results, Pitt will play either Kansas State or Delaware at MSG Friday.
(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)