ACC Basketball

ACC Tournament, Round Two: Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

 

(12) Wake Forest took care of business against one former Big East team, ending Notre Dame’s season with a 81-69 victory on Wednesday. Now they get to take on yet another former Big East team in (5) Pittsburgh. Against the Irish, the Demon Deacons had a solid inside (Devin Thomas: 19 points, 10 rebounds) and outside (Coron Williams: 25 points, 4-5 from three) game. Arnaud William Adala Moto chipped in with 12 points as well.

This will be Pittsburgh’s first ACC Tournament game and while it seems insane to say this might be a must-win situation for a 24-win team, this game against Wake Forest might be a must-win situation for the Panthers. It’s remittences of Seth Greenberg’s Virginia Tech teams. They would stock their non-conference schedule with cupcakes, put up a ton of wins, but then would get left out of NCAA Tournament party because of it.

As of now, Pittsburgh best win is against a Stanford team that is not a lock to get into the tournament, which means they could have zero wins against tournament teams come selection Sunday. The last thing they need is a bad loss to a Wake Forest team that is barely dreaming of the N.I.T.

PREVIOUS MATCH UP: Pittsburgh over Wake Forest, 80-65
The Panthers took care of business at home back on January 11. They jumped out to a 16-6 lead and never trailed. This was back when Lamar Patterson was dominating the league. He finished with 27 points and six assists. Talib Zanna came through for 16 points, getting to the charity stripe 11 times. In that game, Wake struggled to drain shots, hitting just 41% of their two-pointers. Travis McKie was particularly awful (like he can be sometimes), hitting just 1-5 shots in 25 minutes.

WORTHLESS PREDICTION: PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
The Demon Deacons have the talent to take care of business against Pittsburgh. They’re arguable playing their best ball of the season, but asking players like Williams and Adala Moto to reproduce what they did Wednesday may be asking too much. Meanwhile, Pitt has one of the nation’s best offenses (18th according to KenPom) and they do it with balance. Sure everything flows through Lamar Patterson, but on any given night, both Cameron Wright and Talib Zanna can turn into solid second and third options.

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