The Big East/SEC Invitational continues on Saturday as the #3 Pitt Panthers (10-0) host the #13 Tennessee Volunteers (6-0) as the NCAA College Basketball season heads toward conference action.
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has been fighting recruiting allegations but, on Saturday, he must face the #3 team in the nation in the undefeated Pitt Panthers. The Volunteers are 6-0 and have already defeated a Big East power, #7 Villanova, earlier in the season. Tennessee features a strong inside game with forward Tobias Harris, their leading scorer with 16.7 PPG as well as a big, 6-7 guard in Scotty Hopson (16.3 PPG). Rebounding is also a strong suit for the Vols, who average 42 rebounds a game, which is good for 14th in the nation.
The Panthers get off the team bus rebounding and are ranked 4th in the nation so the battle of the boards could tell the tale of this game since neither team have been good at shooting. Guard Ashton Gibbs is the go-to guy for Pitt and is a sharp shooter, averaging 17.4 points per game. The Panthers can go 11 deep and have a bunch of strong rebounders in Gary McGhee, Talib Zanna, and Dante Taylor. Taylor has come on as of late and has given the Panthers a solid third scoring option to go with Gibbs and swing man Brad Wannamker (12.8 PPG).
The Panthers have defeated #22 Texas and Maryland but have not faced an opponent the caliber of Tennessee but they are favored by -8 points.
The game will be played at the Consol Energy Center as part of a basketball doubleheader also featuring Rutgers (5-2) versus Auburn (3-4).
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