Seeking a fifth straight win, the Panthers may have more of a test at South Florida than they want.â†µ
After a down year in 2010-11, the Bulls are a somewhat surprising 13-10 on the season and already have six Big East wins to their name. Even more impressive is that South Florida has been nearly perfect at home, losing only one game all season - a narrow three-point defeat at the hands of UConn.
The good news for Pitt is that the Bulls may not be quite as good as their record indicates. While they have 13 wins, they haven't beaten anyone of great consequence this season. Their best win is probably a 17-point road win against Villanova ... and the Wildcats have a losing record.â†µ
South Florida is just now getting into the meat of their schedule and in their last eight games, they'll face Pitt twice, Syracuse, Louisville, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Villanova, and Providence. A losing season is still very much a possibility for the Bulls even with a record three games over .500.â†µ
The man to watch for the Bulls is senior forward/center Augustus Gilchrist. The six-foot-ten inch Gilchrist hasn't had a great season, making only 39% of his shots. He's also averaging fewer points and rebounds than he did last year. But his size could become a factor against Pitt's fairly thin frontcourt. And at approximately 250 pounds, he could be a handful for the slightly shorter, thinner Zanna.â†µ
After Gilchrist, South Florida doesn't have any stars. But what they do have is plenty of depth and balance, with ten players averaging more than 15 minutes a game. Seven of those players average more than five points as well. The point is that even if Pitt can contain Gilchrist, the Bulls have other players capable of stepping up and contributing.â†µ
Still, if Pitt plays its game and doesn't look past South Florida, they should be able to come out on top.â†µ
For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.â†µ