Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
With football season still in full swing, Pitt kicks off their basketball season tonight against Mount St. Mary's at the Pete. The 6:00 p.m. game, which will be aired on ESPN3, will happen just before Pitt's football game against UConn later that night at 8:00 p.m. So it's a double-header of sorts for the Panthers' athletic programs.
It's difficult to know what to expect out of Pitt tonight as the exhibition games against Division II teams have been a bit of a mixed bag. The Panthers got off to a slow start against IUP in their first contest before picking it up late and winning a closer-than-expected game. Pitt jumped out to an early lead against Hawaii-Hilo last week and never looked back, winning big.
Individually, two guys to keep an eye on are expected starters and true freshmen, Steven Adams and James Robinson. Both had some good moments in Pitt's exhibition games, but if they struggle, head coach Jamie Dixon won't hesitate to pull them for more experienced options. Senior Dante Taylor is expected to back up Adams and Robinson could be spelled by any number of guards. The other key newcomer for the Panthers is transfer Trey Zeigler. Zeigler came over from Central Michigan and while he's gotten off to a slow start in the exhibition games, part of that is surely due to finding his way around in a new system.
Mount St. Mary's is led by junior Julian Norfleet. Norfleet, a 6'2" guard, led the team in scoring last season. He also ranked fourth in rebounding and third in assists. The Mountaineers were a dismal 8-21 last year, so don't look for much of a contest in Pitt's opener. But the game should allow several of Pitt's younger players to get their feet wet a bit this season.