Wofford (19-13) at Pittsburgh (17-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 14, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Petersen Events Center (12,508) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: None. CBI Record: Wofford 0-0, Pittsburgh 0-0. Series Record: Pittsburgh leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The first round of the fifth annual College Basketball Invitational continues tonight, as the Pittsburgh Panthers entertain the Wofford Terriers at the Peterson Events Center.
The winner will advance to play either Princeton or Evansville in the second round next Monday.
Wofford (19-13) will be playing in their third consecutive postseason after finishing the regular season second in the Southern Conference with a 12-6 record. The Terriers were hot at the end of the regular season, winning four of their last five, but they were overpowered by Western Carolina in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament, 82-59.
For a program with as much prestige as Pittsburgh, the season started off as expected, winning 11 of its first 12 games on its way to a No. 15 national ranking. It then went into a tailspin however, losing eight straight and quickly falling out of the race in the Big East Conference. The Panthers wrapped up the season by losing seven of nine to fall to a 17-16 record and a terrible 5-13 league ledger.
In the only previous meeting between these two schools, Pittsburgh escaped with a 63-60 victory on Nov. 13, 2009 at home.
Wofford was not impressive at the offensive end of the court this season, draining just 43.6 percent of its field goal attempts, 33 percent of its three-point tries, and scoring a Southern Conference-low 64.0 ppg. Despite that sub par effort, the Terriers were able to log a successful season behind a solid defensive effort, which permitted a league-low 62.7 ppg. A pair of Terriers were named all-conference honorees in Brad Loesing and Kevin Giltner, both of whom averaged 14.9 ppg and started all 32 games. Loesing was the conference's second-best distributor, handing out 5.5 apg, while Giltner was deadly from beyond the arc, draining 83 three-pointers. Karl Cochran adds to the impressive guard play for Wofford, bringing 11.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 1.4 spg to the table.
No matter how bad Pittsburgh's struggles got this season, it always knew it could count on one of the Big East's most reliable players, senior guard Ashton Gibbs, who ranked 12th in the conference in scoring with 15.5 ppg. He also drained the fourth-most three-pointers (73) and had the third-best free- throw percentage (.861). Although he missed an 11-game stretch in the middle of the season, Tray Woodall was a productive point guard when healthy, contributing 11.1 ppg and 5.9 apg, although he is prone to turnovers at 3.6 giveaways per contest. Nasir Robinson provides some stability in the paint with 11.0 ppg and team-high 6.6 rpg. The Panthers stand out neither on offense (68.7 ppg) nor defense (66.2 ppg), and though they turn the ball over at an alarming rate (-2.15 turnover margin), they are very effective on the glass (+7.0 rebounding margin).
It's clear that Pitt possesses more talent than Wofford, but the Panthers may take playing in the CBI for granted, while the Terriers are sure to be amped up and ready to give it their all.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wofford 67, Pittsburgh 65
03/14 10:39:31 ET