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Pitt Vs. Providence: Panthers Have Had Difficulty With Friars

Pitt doesn't always have trouble with Providence - it just seems that way.

Four years ago, the Friars played Pitt closely, trailing only four before fading in the final minute. Two years ago, fresh off its first-ever No. 1 ranking, the Panthers were beaten on the road at Providence. Then there was last season. Pitt appeared to be defeated yet again, this time at the Pete. Down one with only three seconds remaining, Ashton Gibbs quickly got the ball and put up an NBA three-pointer to win the game.

Three out of the past four times, Providence has given Pitt all it could handle. And that could again be the case when Pitt travels to play the Friars on the road on Tuesday.

Gone are stars Jamine Peterson and Sharaud Curry, but they've been replaced by Marshon Brooks, Vincent Council, and Bilal Dixon. Brooks is third in the conference in scoring with 23 points per game and averages 8.4 rpg. Council chips in 15.5 ppg and Dixon is the force inside with seven points and nine rebounds per game.

Providence is also one of the nation's best rebounding teams pulling in more than 41 per game (17th in the country). They're led by Dixon and Brooks who are both in the top five in the Big East.

The Friars are also a very deep team with ten players getting at least five minutes each. Providence has the scoring, rebounding, and depth to beat the Panthers.

Providence generally doesn't have a lot of success in the Big East, but this year the team is off to a surprising 11-4 start. Problem is that they're still relatively untested and they haven't beaten any significant foes yet. They've also dropped a game to La Salle, so it's a bit hard to say just how good they may be. Nevertheless, the threat for a close game (or worse) is there.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.