ACC Basketball: Saturday Preview

With a rivalry Saturday in full swing for football today, there are three ACC basketball games that will fly under the radar as most turn their eye towards the gridiron. If you are one of those folks planning on watching some basketball this afternoon, here’s a look at what you can expect.
Kent State (3-1) Vs. Pittsburgh (3-0), 4:00 PM ET on
Game Notes

  • Pittsburgh has rolled through their first three opponents in 2015, averaging 90.7 points per game and tallying a top-50 scoring defense by only giving up an average of 64 points per contest.
  • The Golden Flashes have an adequate offense that should not be taken lightly. They are ranked in the middle of the pack in most statistics offensively, with junior forward Jimmy Hall leading the way with 16.0 points per game on 43.6% shooting.


While Jimmy Hall presents a threat in the paint to Pittsburgh, the Panthers have just the guy who can defend him and match him blow-for-blow on offense. Forward Michael Young has been no slouch in his own right thus far for Pitt, averaging 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, which would essentially equalize the game down low. Pittsburgh veteran guard Justin Robinson has always been poised, and his veteran presence and knack for taking care of the basketball could make the difference in a close game late. Give me the Panthers in this one, because I think that Kent State will make one more mistake than Pitt down the stretch.
Pittsburgh 74   Kent State 69
Virginia Tech (3-2) Vs. UAB (3-2), 4:30 PM ET, No TV Coverage
Game Notes

  • UAB senior guard Robert Brown faces off against his former team for the first time since transferring to the Blazers. Brown is second on the team with 9.6 points per game, while shooting 40.8% from the floor.
  • Virginia Tech is trying to find their footing on defense. Friday night against #4 Iowa State, the Hokies struggled mightily in contesting three point jumpers. Iowa State cruised to a 22-point victory by hitting 13 of 21 attempts from downtown. UAB is one of the few teams on Virginia Tech’s schedule that may not present the Hokies with a true three-point shooting threat. UAB has only converted on 25.6% of their attempts from beyond the arc this season.


Virginia Tech fans are awaiting the next step in the rebuilding process for the basketball program, and that is beating a potential tournament team. The Hokies swung and missed on Friday night against #4 Iowa State, but UAB presents a different sort of challenge. UAB stunned the nation with an upset victory back in March during the NCAA Tournament against Virginia Tech’s Friday night opponent, the Iowa State Cyclones, and win their games with defense and athleticism, not three point shooting. The Blazers are athletic and can defend perimeter shooters as well as any team the Hokies have faced so far. While Buzz Williams has closed the talent gap a bit with his solid recruiting in his year and a half in Blacksburg, I’m not sure the young guns are ready for the veteran UAB squad. Due to this, I’ll take the Blazers to beat the Hokies in a tightly contested game.
UAB 68   Virginia Tech 62
St. Louis (4-0) Vs. Louisville (4-0), 8:00 PM ET on
Game Notes

  • This will undoubtedly be a game of pace. Louisville prefers to play at a high-tempo, with frenetic defense leading to a fast, efficient offense with easy buckets on the other end. St. Louis meanwhile, tries to slow the tempo and get the game into the half-court on offense. As is most often the case, the team that controls the flow of the game best will have a great chance to win.
  • Louisville’s defense has been extremely effective thus far this season, giving up only 49.8 points per game which is the second best mark in college basketball. The full-court pressure defense has led to turnovers and easy points on the other end, which has paced the Cardinals in their 4-0 start.


St. Louis has been one of the mid-major teams in all of college basketball in recent years, but are coming off a down year last season as they limped to an 11-21 record. The Billikens struggled mightily offensively at times during 2014, but are attempting to move back in the right direction this season, averaging just over 75 points per game thus far. St. Louis has a top 25 defense of their own coming into the game this evening, but the real storyline will be whether or not they can handle to Louisville defensive pressure. My guess is that they don’t, and that the Cardinals will pull away late to an easy victory.
Louisville 77   St. Louis 60



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