Long Beach State Vs. Pitt: After Scare Against Rider, Panthers May Get Another Test On Wednesday

Pitt wasn't expecting to get the test they got from Rider over the weekend, but on Wednesday, they could be facing another one from Long Beach State.

The 49ers were nearly an NCAA tournament team last year and won 22 games before heading to the NIT. Along the way, Long Beach State beat Iowa and fell by only five to North Carolina on the road.  They also faced Clemson, Arizona State, and a 30-win Utah State team, so they aren't likely to be rattled by playing the Pete this season. And talk about tough schedules - in addition to Pitt, the 49ers will square off against North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas, and Xavier this year ... all top 15 squads.

Long Beach State is led by 5-foot-10 dynamo Casper Ware, who averaged just over 17 points per game last year. And in the 49ers' opener against Idaho this season, he dropped 20 on the Vandals.

One area Pitt should have an advantage is down low. Long Beach State has no regular taller than 6-foot-8 and not much depth as far as big men go. Dante Taylor, Talib Zanna, and Khem Birch (all of whom are 6-foot-9 or taller) could wear them down as the game goes on. There's also the 6-foot-11 Malcolm Gilbert, who could play after missing the first two games with a fractured hand.

Speaking of Birch, he's off to a bit of a slow start. Through two games, he's only averaged two points and three rebounds per contest. Still, look for him to make a bigger impact as the season goes on and he gets more comfortable with the offense.

A main storyline to follow this season will continue to be the offensive development of Tray Woodall. Woodall has been one of the team's better players so far this season, but he's unlikely to keep this scoring pace up. But if he's able to even play moderately well, that would give Pitt one of the best backcourts in the country with All-American candidate Ashton Gibbs playing shooting guard.

Playing at home, the Panthers are nearly unbeatable so it's difficult to see them losing this game. But as Sunday's game against Rider proved, Pitt is capable of being tested by mid-major teams.

For more on the game, check out SB Nation Pitt blog Cardiac Hill.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Pittsburgh

You must be a member of SB Nation Pittsburgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Pittsburgh. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Pittsburgh

You must be a member of SB Nation Pittsburgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Pittsburgh. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.