Just how down is Pitt this year? That theory could be tested in Thursday night's matchup against perennial doormat, DePaul.
The Panthers have lost three in a row and clearly haven't been they prototypical Pitt team we're used to seeing. Still, there's hope for the season and it's not time to question the team's chances of reaching the NCAAs just yet. But if Pitt can't find a way to win at DePaul on Thursday, there will be all out panic.
DePaul generally isn't a very good team, but are showing improvement this season. They are 9-4 this year and a bit better than normal. The Blue Demons have endured two painful losses to ten-win Minnesota and Mississippi teams by a combined three points. DePaul also beat a couple of major-conference foes in Texas Tech and Arizona State.
Leading the way for DePaul again is sophomore Cleveland Melvin. Melvin set the Big East on fire last year as a freshman and this season is no different. He not only leads the team in scoring with 18.8 points per game, but nearly leads the entire conference. Melvin's 6.6 rebounds lead the Blue Demons as well. Pitt isn't able to focus solely on shutting him down, though. DePaul has one of the best inside/outside threats in the Big East and that's due in part to guard Brandon Young. Young, also a sophomore, averages just over 16 points per game and hits more than 50% of his shots from the field.
Pitt will again likely be without starting point guard Tray Woodall. Woodall missed practice again earlier this week and doesn't yet appear at full strength. He missed Pitt's last game against Cincinnati and it's hard to see him suiting up for this one as well.
For more on Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.