Pitt's fans are looking ahead to a big matchup against No. 5 Michigan next week in the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament but hopefully the players aren't doing the same. Before the Panthers can start thinking about their game against the Wolverines, the team will need to face the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Saturday.
At first glance, this isn't a game that should be too competitive. Oakland enters with a 1-2 record, having dropped contests to Boise State and Louisiana-Lafayette. But Pitt shouldn't sleep on the team since they're capable of doing some good things offensively.
Oakland enters the game scoring 85 points per game - good for 41st in the nation as of this week. They also have an incredibly explosive backcourt with juniors Duke Mondy and Travis Bader. The duo averages 38 points per contest and Mondy in particular is very efficient, making nearly 60% of his shots. In fact, the team as a whole shoots well, as the connect on more than half of their attempts. Pitt's defense should be able to limit Oakland's effectiveness when they have the ball, but the Golden Grizzlies are capable of hanging in the game if they can get their shots to fall.
Oakland also has a bit of size. One of their best players is 6'10" forward/center Corey Petros and he should give freshman Steven Adams some competition. And while they don't play a ton (the two have combined for 18 minutes a game and have only seen action in one game a piece), the Grizzlies' 6'11" Korab Imami and 6'9" Raphael Carter could also help Oakland match up against Pitt's frontcourt.
The Panthers should win this game fairly easily, but if they're caught looking ahead, Oakland has enough offense to keep things tight for a while.