The Pitt Panthers play the Colorado Buffaloes on Thursday at 1:40 pm. After what seemed like an eternity, the wait is finally over, the Panthers earned a spot in the NCAA tournament. Now many fans are eager to see what the team is able to do in the tournament.
This Pitt basketball team looked impressive in Greensborough for the ACC tournament. They ultimately lost to Virginia by three, but the Cavaliers are a one seed in the tournament. Prior to losing to Virginia, the Panthers defeated Wake Forest and 15th ranked UNC.
The key to Pitt’s success in the NCAA tournament is how effective Talib Zanna can be. Zanna was an absolute monster in the Panthers three ACC tournament games. In those three games Zanna recorded 51 points and 39 rebounds. The fifth-year senior will play a vital role for the Panthers moving forward.
Fellow senior Lamar Patterson was asked about how much Talib Zanna has meant to this Pitt basketball team, “He’s a leader, he’s a senior, and when you see him going, it just gets the ball rolling.” Those exact words can also be said about Patterson. The Panthers’ two seniors appear to be primed to lead the Panthers on another late March run.
Zanna will have his hands full with 6’10 sophomore center Josh Scott of Colorado. Scott averages 14.1 ppg and 8.5 rpg. He is sure to challenge Zanna. Zanna should be able to handle Scott just fine. Zanna had no trouble silencing Wake Forest sophomore center Devin Thomas. Thomas who recorded a double-double in his first ACC tournament matchup with Notre Dame only scored eight points and five rebounds against Zanna and Pitt.
Pitt’s ACC tournament run was inspired by their impressive zone defense that caused many teams to have fits.
I do not expect Pitt to have much trouble with Colorado. The Buffaloes are not that an impressive of a team. They are 5-8 against teams that are in the NCAA tournament and in my opinion are in an overrated Pac 12 conference. The Pac 12 sent six teams to the tournament which would usually suggest the strength of the conference, however of the six teams, four of them are seeded seventh or worse.
I do not predict the Pac 12 to do overwhelmingly well nor do I expect Colorado to defeat Pitt. This Pitt basketball team is playing too well to not come away with at least one victory in the NCAA tournament.
Other than defeating Colorado, Florida will be tough. Pitt should not concern themselves with how they will attempt to beat the Gators, they need to take this tournament one game at a time.
I predict that the Panthers will get out to a roaring start and that this game will be a breeze for them. Look for them to win by double digits and rest their starters for a matchup with the Florida Gators on Saturday.
The game will tip off at 1:40 pm on TBS.