Pitt recruitment report: Panthers target 4 linemen from highly touted Texas high school

1/26/2024 Coming off back-to-back conference victories for the first time this season, Pitt will aim to conclude its three-game road trip with another victory Saturday, as it faces Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The Panthers (12-7, 3-5 ACC) and Hurricanes (13-6, 4-4) find themselves in similar spots at this point in the season, both looking to gain ground in the ACC standings with hopes to return to the NCAA tournament. Pitt and Miami are scheduled to tip off at 2:15 p.

m. and the game will be televised on The CW. Here is a closer look at the matchup: As Pitt aims to work its way back onto the NCAA tournament bubble, games like the one it will play Saturday are must-wins.

The Panthers earned their first Quad 1 victory Saturday in their upset win over Duke. They then followed that effort by earning their first Quad 2 win Tuesday night by defeating Georgia Tech. Miami not only represents another Quad 1 win opportunity for Jeff Capel’s team, but also would provide a boost in numerous other areas that go into tournament consideration.

The Hurricanes sit just one spot above Pitt in the ACC standings and are five or less places ahead of the Panthers in both the NET rankings and KenPom. Like Pitt, Miami is also looking to battle its way out of an early-season funk. After starting the year ranked No.

13 in the nation, Jim Larranaga’s team has stumbled mightily, losing to questionable foes such as Florida State and Louisville. Simply put: This game means a lot to both teams involved. A loss for Pitt would dampen the momentum built over the past week, while a defeat at home would mark three of four conference losses for Miami as we enter the final week of January.

Key players Zack Austin: Capel praised Austin on Tuesday evening for his ability to impact the game in areas that don’t always appear on the stat sheet. On Saturday, Pitt will need Austin to help slow down one of the biggest stat-sheet stuffers in the ACC: Norchad Omier. Although he might not receive national attention similar to other great ACC big men such as Duke’s Kyle Filipowski or North Carolina’s Armando Bacot, Omier has been equally dangerous this season.

Despite his lack of height, Omier has dominated under the basket, entering Saturday’s matchup second in the ACC in rebounding (9. 7 per game) and field goal percentage (64. 2%), fifth in scoring (18.

1 PPG) and sixth in steals (1. 7 per game). As frontcourt defense continues to be inconsistent for the Panthers, containing Omier will be key.

While Pitt did a decent job at limiting Filipowski last weekend, Miami is one of the top outside shooting teams in the country, so double-teams might not be an option. While Fede Federiko and Guillermo Diaz Graham do their best to slow Omier down, Austin must be ready at all times to provide additional support if needed. Any offensive output from Austin on Saturday should be viewed as a bonus.

Capel is going to need him playing full tilt on the other end from start to finish. Blake Hinson: Last weekend, Hinson, the team’s best player, rose to the occasion against a top-tier opponent. Pitt will need more of the same from him on Saturday.

Hinson’s big effort against Duke, where he tallied 24 points and eight rebounds, was impressive. However, when looking at the big picture, Hinson’s scoring output remains inconsistent. On Tuesday evening, Hinson ended with just nine points, none of which came during the second half.

Foul trouble played a significant part in Hinson’s lack of involvement during the second half against Georgia Tech, but no such mistakes can be made against the Hurricanes. Miami has limited opponents to shoot just 29. 3% from 3-point range this year, which ranks No.

2 in the ACC and No. 22 in the country. Hinson has shown throughout his career that he has no issues with making a contested shot.

When Hinson is on, Pitt can compete with any team in the ACC. When he is off, the results are mixed. While another 7-for-7 performance from the outside might be too much to ask, the Panthers will need more than nine points from their star if they hope to remain in the win column.

Behind enemy lines Head coach: Jim Larranaga, 13th year KenPom ranking: 63 (Pitt: 68) NET ranking: 62 (Pitt: 66) Projected starting five (points, rebounds, assists) 1. Nijel Pack, 6-0, redshirt junior (14. 1 – 2.

9 – 3. 8) 2. Wooga Poplar, 6-5, junior (14.

7 – 4. 8 – 2. 3) 3.

Matthew Cleveland, 6-7, junior (14. 8 – 5. 8 – 1.

9) 4. Kyshawn George, 6-8, freshman (7. 5 – 2.

9 – 1. 9) 5. Norchad Omier, 6-7, redshirt junior (18.

1 – 9. 7 – 1. 7) The scoop: There isn’t much Miami can’t do on the offensive end.

The Hurricanes currently lead the ACC in both field goal percentage (49. 1%) and 3-point percentage (39. 1%), with the latter figure ranking No.

10 in the country. Miami’s average of 9. 3 made triples per game is tied with Pitt for a league-best, as well.

With four guards in the starting lineup, the Hurricanes like to play quick, which has produced an average of 81. 9 points per game and 14. 9 fast-break points per game — both figures rank second-best in the league.

Miami’s fast-break success comes from strong defensive rebounding (27. 7 per game), which is also No. 2 in the ACC.

One notable weakness the Hurricanes look to have is depth. Sixth-man Bensley Joseph is the lone player on Miami’s bench that averages more than 14 minutes a game. Larranaga’s reserves average just a collective 12.

3 points per game, which is second-worst in the ACC and ranks No. 343 in the country. This could trend well for the Panthers, who were led to victory Tuesday thanks in large part to strong showings off the bench by Ishmael Leggett and Diaz Graham.

Capel has praised his team’s toughness and aggression after each of its last two wins. Pitt could benefit from its tenacity again Saturday against Miami. The Hurricanes allow 9.

3 offensive rebounds a game, which ranks No. 12 in the ACC. Miami also struggles to protect the rim, averaging only 3.

4 blocks a game, which puts them at No. 11 in the league. .

Noah Hiles
Filed 01.27.2024

Players Mentioned in This Article

Adam Pittser

Albert Dukes

Aaron Austin

Latest Player Notes

How Wisconsin athletes are benefiting from a unique NIL deal with Madison's Exact Sciences

Feb 17, 2024MJ Hammill entered what can be a scary time of an athlete’s life in mid-December.She went into the volleyball ...

Mike Griffith: Texas is Georgia's primary focus this offseason

February 16, 2024The Georgia Bulldogs face three SEC contenders on the road next season in Alabama, Texas and Ole Miss. According ...

Navigating a season that could see Texas play Georgia more than once

February 17, 2024The Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs will play in Austin on Oct. 19. It may not be the only time they ...

After some key departures from the team, Dykes got busy in the portal this offseason.

5:11 PM on Feb 16, 2024Biggest unanswered question: Who will emerge as the clear WR1?Before last season, Williams was the ...

How Louisville football coach Jeff Brohm balances transfer portal, high school recruiting

Louisville Courier JournalCollege football used to buzz on the first Wednesday in February, but Louisville football's office ...

Bob Asmussen | Illinois defense counting on linebackers to plug the gaps

College Football Reporter/ColumnistCHAMPAIGN — A new linebacker coach is in place at Illinois, and Archie McDaniel said he ...

Where Alabama’s quarterback group stands before spring practice

Alabama football’s offense is going to look different this season. Kalen DeBoer has replaced the retired Nick Saban as head ...

Why did AJ McCarron return to the St. Louis Battlehawks?

When AJ McCarron joined the resurrected XFL last year, the former Alabama All-American hadn’t played since suffering a knee ...

Colorado football self-reported 11 minor NCAA violations from Deion Sanders’ first year with Buffs

1/26/2024The Colorado football program has self-reported 11 minor NCAA violations since the hiring of head coach Deion Sanders ...

What Steve Young said about today’s NFL quarterbacks

By Jackson Payne Steve Young may have enjoyed a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling just ...
See More Player Notes