Virginia, Pittsburgh look to shake off home losses

Home losses have been somewhat of a rarity for No. 11 Virginia and Pittsburgh the past few seasons.

After already suffering a home loss each prior to the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play, both the Cavaliers and Panthers dropped their conference home openers on Saturday in advance of their matchup Wednesday night.

Despite their loss, Virginia moved up a spot in the latest AP Top 25 Poll and travels to what will be a hostile environment at the famed Oakland Zoo. The Cavaliers knocked off Louisville on the road last week before falling to a very good Florida State team on Saturday after a game-winning 3-pointer by Dwayne Bacon collapsed the Cavaliers.

“The first thing I said to our team when we walked into the locker room was ‘Welcome to the ACC,’ Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. “I said, ‘If you are not right, and you are not executing all of the way through, you will not be successful.’ That is why in those games, if you can get them, you take them. Obviously, Louisville, we went in there and got a win. Florida State, they came in here, and that is a talented offensive group. You are just going to have to be ready to play at home or away.”

Pittsburgh is 0-4 against Virginia since joining the ACC back in 2014, but has played the Cavaliers close in a majority of those games. A key for the Panthers and first-year head coach Kevin Stallings is productivity from their bench, which they haven’t gotten much of lately.

“We need some more offense from more people,” Stallings said after Pittsburgh’s loss to Notre Dame on Saturday. “Our bench didn’t do enough for us today.”

Senior Michael Young continues to get it done for Stallings and the Panthers as he averages just under 23 points per game, while forward Jamel Artis pours the points in at a 21 points per game clip.

Once you get beyond that duo however, Pittsburgh’s point distribution takes a bit of a dive as Cameron Johnson is the only other Panther to average in double figures. The Panthers are 38th in the country in scoring as they average just under 82 points per game, but their defense is allowing 75 points per game which has been a problem despite their 11-3 record.

Virginia continues to use their balanced approach which was evident in their loss to the Seminoles when they put four players in double figures, led by freshman Kyle Guy who continues to impress for Bennett and the Cavaliers.

Guy is shooting 58 percent from the three-point line this season and is on pace to break the Virginia single-season 3-point percentage records.

As expected in the ACC this season, every game will be competitive and this one will be no different as Pittsburgh looks for a quality win against a top 15 opponent.