Another Stiff Test For Pitt Backcourt

The Panthers get another big test in its perimeter defense. Is this schedule, and the way they've faced guards like this, a schedule by design?

Jamie Dixon doesn't think it's a schedule by design, but he likes the fact his team has faced several top guards just seven games into the season.

"I don't know how it worked out, but we've played some of the best guards in the country," head coach Jamie Dixon said.

Pitt faced NBA prospect C.J. McCollum of Lehigh on November 13. McCollum still finished with 17 points, but many of his points came late in the contest. For the season, McCollum is averaging 26.3 points a game, has three games with over 30 points. His 17 against Pitt are a season-low.

"In the long run, we're going to play a lot of elite guards," J.J. Moore said. "It's a testament to our guards to defend, and defend well."

"Pittsburgh is known for defense," Cameron Wright added. "When we get the opportunity to play against great guards, which is every night, I feel, it's always a great opportunity for everybody."

Then Pitt and to face the dual-threat of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Burke is shooting 48 percent from the field, 37 percent from three-point range and averaging over 16 points a game. Against Pitt, his 17 points was the second-lowest output of the season, and he was 0-4 from three-point range.

Hardaway, a 56 percent shooter for the season, entered the Pitt contest 8-11 from three-point range. He went 1-7 against the Panthers.

"I'd say as far as reputation, these (opposing guards) are as good a group of guards in the country," Dixon added.

Now, Pitt has to deal with another legit guard in Ray McCallum. Similar to the other challenges the Pitt perimeter defense has had to face, McCallum is averaging of 20 points a game, is shooting at a 50 percent clip from the field and is a 37 percent three-point shooter for the season.

"He's a better shooter than I remember when he was in high school," Dixon said. "He's one of those guys that will pull-up jumper, transition. He's a guy that can shoot deep-range threes; a lot deeper from what I remember in high school."


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