Pittsburgh (4-0) vs. Texas Tech (4-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 25, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Barclays Center (18,103) -- Brooklyn, New York. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Pitt 4-0, TTU 4-0. Away Record: Pitt 0-0, TTU 0-1. Neutral Record: Pitt 0-0, TTU 0-0. Conference Record: Pitt 0-0, TTU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The final rounds of the Legends Classic tip off at the Barclays Center on Monday evening, as the Texas Tech Red Raiders do battle with the Pittsburgh Panthers.
The winner will advance to Tuesday night's championship game against the survivor of the Stanford/Houston matchup. The losers will also play in a consolation game.
Pitt opened the season with four straight home games and won each one of them, and it has started 4-0 for the second straight season. Each of the Panthers' victories have come by at least 19 points, including a 77-58 rout of Lehigh on Nov. 20.
Texas Tech is off to a strong start as well, with its only loss in five tries coming at Alabama on Nov. 14 (76-65) as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Since that setback, the Red Raiders have reeled off two straight wins, both at home, over Texas Southern (80-71) and South Dakota State (68-54).
This matchup marks the first-ever meeting between the Panthers and Red Raiders on the hardwood.
The Panthers dominated Lehigh from the opening tip in their latest bout, as they ran out to an 8-0 run in the game's first four minutes and never looked back. They had an outstanding night from 3-point range (11-of-26) and handed out 20 assists paired with only nine turnovers. Talib Zanna posted a huge double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and he only missed one of his 10 attempts from the field. Lamar Patterson added 17 points, Durand Johnson (15 points) had a hot hand from beyond the arc coming off the bench (5-of-8), and while James Robinson finished with just two points, he handed out 11 assists without committing a takeaway.
Pitt has been nothing short of outstanding at both ends of the floor this season, as it owns eye-popping scoring (+26.3) and rebounding (+18.5) margins. Zanna (15.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg) is 18-of-23 from the floor (.783), while both Patterson (13.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.5 apg) and Johnson (10.3 ppg) are better than 41 percent shooters from beyond the arc.
The Red Raiders led their most recent contest from the opening tip, as they outshot SDSU from the field, 43.9 percent to 34.0 percent, en route to the 14- point triumph. Jordan Tolbert narrowly missed a double-double with 19 points and nine boards, while Jaye Crockett (10 points, seven rebounds, three steals, one block) was also impressive in the frontcourt. Dusty Hannahs (12 points) was off the mark from the field (1-of-6), but he made up for it with a perfect night from the free-throw line on nine attempts.
Efficient, well-rounded performances at the offensive end have become the norm for Texas Tech, which is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field for 75.2 points per game. Tolbert (14.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Crockett (12.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg) are both draining field goals at greater than a 63 percent rate. Robert Turner (12.8 ppg) and Hannahs (11.4 ppg) give the Red Raiders a formidable backcourt duo as well.
Something has to give when these two efficient teams square off, but even though this will be Pitt's first foray away from home this season, figure for its potent 3-point shooting to get the better of the Red Raiders.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pittsburgh 73, Texas Tech 68
11/25 10:33:09 ET