DePaul (10-8) at Pittsburgh (16-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Petersen Events Center (12,508) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: ROOT, MASN. Home Record: DePaul 6-5, Pitt 11-2. Away Record: DePaul 4-1, Pitt 3-1. Neutral Record: DePaul 0-2, Pitt 2-1. Conference Record: DePaul 1-4, Pitt 4-3. Series Record: Pittsburgh leads, 7-2.
GAME NOTES: The Pittsburgh Panthers eye a fourth consecutive win on Saturday when they welcome the DePaul Blue Demons for a Big East Conference affair at the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt continued its strong play of late on Tuesday, as Lamar Patterson tallied 17 points and seven rebounds to help the Panthers hold off the Providence Friars, 68-64. Tray Woodall had nine points, eight assists, and three steals for Pitt, while Talib Zanna and J.J. Moore also netted nine points for the visitors, whose bench outscored Providence's 20-3. The Panthers also outscored the Friars 34-28 in the paint and 20-15 off turnovers.
DePaul, meanwhile, has been idle since last Saturday when it lost its third game in a row, falling to St. John's, 71-62. Jamee Crockett had a game-high 19 points in the loss and Cleveland Melvin scored 16 points as well. Brandon Young brought in 10 rebounds but had just six points on 2-of-11 shooting while turning the ball over seven times for the Blue Demons, who have lost five of their last six.
Pittsburgh owns a decisive 7-2 advantage in the all-time series between these two teams, but DePaul snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Panthers last season, besting them, 84-81.
In comparison to the rest of the Big East Pittsburgh has been a rather pedestrian offensive team in terms of scoring (71.9 ppg). However they have made the most of their possessions by shooting at a stellar 49.2 percent clip which is good enough for 10th in the nation overall. Ball movement keys the impressive shooting clip with the Panthers handing out the fifth most assists (17.8) nationally. Pittsburgh is also a tough team to score against as it lets up just 54.5 points per game on just 40.1 percent shooting. No one particular player on the team stands out as the primary scoring option with Zanna (11.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg) the closest thing to a top threat on the roster. Woodall (10.7 ppg, 5.7 apg) is also capable of taking on the scoring load while working well as the primary facilitator.
DePaul is fortunate enough to have one of the best scoring tandems in the Big East on its side. Melvin (17.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Young (16.7 ppg, 4.3 apg) are each among the top five scorers in the conference as the only players on the roster averaging in double figures. Melvin is also among the top 10 rebounders in the Big East, while Young has scored in double figures in five of his last six games, handing out at least four assists in three of those games. Led by Young and Melvin, DePaul is the third-highest scoring team in the Big East (74.2 ppg).
Although they might not be in the upper echelon of the conference, the Blue Demons have enough talent in the starting five to compete most nights. Asking them to get a road win in Pittsburgh of all places, though, may be too much to ask.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pittsburgh 73, DePaul 61
01/26 10:43:19 ET