Boasting an eight-game winning streak, a 23-game home winning streak, and an AP ranking for the first time in nearly two months, Virginia looks to keep the good times rolling as Pittsburgh comes to Charlottesville for a Tuesday night ACC tilt.
Read on for a full preview of No. 21 Virginia vs. Pittsburgh, including game details and notes, an opponent scouting report, what to watch for, and a prediction for Tuesday night’s matchup.
Who: Virginia Cavaliers (19-5, 10-3 ACC) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (15-8, 6-6 ACC)
When: Tuesday, February 13th at 7pm ET
Where: John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia
How to watch: ACC Network
How to stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
How to listen: SiriusXM 384, SXM App 974 | Virginia Sports Radio Network – click here for affiliates
All-time series: Virginia leads 19-5
Last meeting: Pittsburgh defeated Virginia 68-65 on January 3rd, 2023 in Pittsburgh.
- Virginia leads Pittsburgh 19-5 in the all-time series that dates back to 1957, but Pitt snapped UVA’s eight-game winning streak in the series in the most recent meeting between these two teams last season.
- UVA has won eight of the last nine games against Pitt and 15 of the last 17.
- Virginia has won each of the last six games against Pittsburgh in Charlottesville.
- Virginia is 12-2 against Pittsburgh since the Panthers joined the ACC ahead of the 2013-2014 season.
- Tony Bennett is 12-3 against Pittsburgh as a head coach.
- Virginia is currently second in the ACC standings with a 10-3 conference record and Pittsburgh is tied for seventh at 6-6.
Opponent Scouting Report: Pittsburgh
2022-2023: 24-12, 14-6 ACC, Lost in NCAA Tournament 2nd Round
2023-2024: 15-8, 6-6 ACC
The 2022-2023 season was a breakout campaign for Jeff Capel’s Pitt Panthers, who increased their win total by 13 games from the previous season, just narrowly missed out on a share of the ACC regular season title, and won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in almost a decade. From that team, leading scorer Blake Hinson returns, but Pittsburgh’s next four leading scorers from last year’s squad have all moved on.
Given the roster turnover, there has been an expected drop-off for the Panthers this year versus last, but they’ve still had a quality season to this point. Pitt sustained only two losses in non-conference play against Florida and Missouri and picked up wins over Oregon State and West Virginia. The beginning stretch of ACC play wasn’t kind to the Panthers, who lost their first three conference games and five of their first six.
Then came the turning point of the season, a massive 80-76 road win over Duke, knocking off the Blue Devils at Cameron for the first time since 1979. That victory lit a spark under the Panthers, who have now won five of their last six games and come into this matchup on a three-game winning streak. There’s an argument for Pittsburgh being the second-hottest team in the ACC behind Virginia.
Sixth-year super senior Blake Hinson leads the way for Pittsburgh as the last core contributor from last year’s team. The 6’8″ forward is averaging a career-high 17.9 points per game and shooting a career-best 41.4% from beyond the arc on more than eight three-point attempts per game. Hinson had 24 points in the win at Duke.
Leading Pittsburgh’s back court is a pair of freshmen guards in Carlton Carrington and Jaland Lowe. Carrington, a 6’5″ guard from Baltimore, isn’t a very good three-point shooter (28.6%), but does practically everything else well to lead Pitt’s offense, averaging 13.6 points and a team-high 4.2 assists per game and shooting 82.6% from the free throw line. 6’3″ freshman Jaland Lowe earned a spot in the starting five midway through the season and has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games, including a 20-point performance in Pittsburgh’s win at NC State last Wednesday.
Joining Blake Hinson in the front court are 6’7″ junior Zack Austin and 6’11” junior Federiko Federiko. Austin, a transfer from High Point, is averaging 6.8 points per game, while Federiko is averaging 4.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Federiko and Austin are both capable shot blockers, with Austin blocking 1.3 shots per game and Federiko 1.4.
Rhode Island transfer Ishmael Leggett is Pittsburgh’s third-leading scorer, averaging in double figures at 12.1 points per game, but he has been coming off the bench for the last month after starting the first 14 games of the season. Leggett averaged 16.4 points per game last season at Rhode Island before entering the transfer portal and is Pitt’s second-best three-point shooter at 34.3%.
Also on Pitt’s bench are twin seven-footers Guillermo Diaz Graham and Jorge Diaz Graham. Guillermo is getting substantially more playing time than his brother, averaging 7.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in just under 18 minutes per game. 6’7″ junior guard William Jeffress is the only other bench player who gets notable minutes as Jeff Capel has the Panthers running a fairly tight rotation.
What to Watch For
Extra rest for Pittsburgh.
The Panthers were the beneficiaries of the rare weekend bye this week, as Pitt did not have a game this past Saturday and comes into Tuesday’s game having not played since last Wednesday. Virginia, meanwhile, played a hard-fought road battle at Florida State on Saturday, barely escaping Tallahassee with an 80-76 win. UVA has had a couple days to recuperate, but keep an eye on the Panthers having slightly fresher legs.
Don’t let the rankings go to your head.
The two previous times that Virginia entered the AP Top 25 this season, the Cavaliers suffered a lopsided loss soon afterwards and quickly exited the rankings. UVA reentered the Top 25 for the first time since December 18th on Monday, coming in at a season-high ranking of No. 21. To be clear, these rankings don’t mean much, but it would be nice for the Hoos to avoid that letdown loss this time and have a longer stay in the rankings.
Clash between the ACC’s hottest teams.
Pittsburgh has won five of its last six games and three in a row coming in to move up the ACC standings to seventh. Only UVA has been better recently with an eight-game winning streak entering Tuesday’s matchup and Virginia currently sits in second place at 10-3. There’s a lot of momentum in this game – something’s gotta give.
John Paul Jones Arena has offered the ultimate home-court advantage for the Cavaliers, who are a perfect 13-0 at home this season and boast the nation’s longest home winning streak at 23-straight wins at JPJ. Pittsburgh has been playing some very solid ball recently, but Virginia has been even better.
Score prediction: Pittsburgh 63, Virginia 70
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