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Pitt Vs. Penn: Panthers On The Road Over Thanksgiving

Pitt goes on the road for the first time this season, taking on Penn in a Black Friday contest at the Palestra.

Despite a 3-1 record, Pitt has clearly struggled this season -particularly in their past three games. Penn, though, hasn't been all that impressive, either.. Sitting at 3-2, the Quakers dropped games against Temple and Wagner. Pitt and Penn do have a common opponent in Rider - the Panthers defeated them by eight at home while Penn needed overtime to beat the Broncs by six on the road.

Penn's best player is clearly Zack Rosen, who leads the team in scoring with nearly 23 points per game and also averages more than four rebounds and five assists per contest. The two teams squared off last season and Rosen had a modest 11 points in the game, but this year he's looked like a different player.

Other than Rosen, though, the Quakers don't have a great offense and this could be the perfect opportunity for Pitt's defense, which has struggled a bit, to get back on track. One thing to watch for will be the play of true freshman Khem Birch. Birch made an impact in the last game with his rebounding and blocks, and it will be interesting to see if his good play warrants more minutes in the mind of Jamie Dixon. Another player to watch is J.J. Moore. After serving a one-game suspension for Summer League play, Moore finally stepped up in the last game against La Salle, hitting three big three-pointers. Both Birch and Moore are going to be relied upon heavily this season.

Pitt had a hard time putting away La Salle in its last matchup. This game should be a good indication of if the Panthers have made any improvements.

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

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