Pitt Basketball: Five Questions

Looking ahead, Pitt hosts Wake Forest on Saturday. They travel to Atlanta on Tuesday to take on Georgia Tech. While all Pitt and Syracuse fans are hoping for both teams to be undefeated, heading into next Saturday's showdown, that's far from a given considering the way this ACC season has started for a lot of teams.

* It's safe to say this is not a good year for the ACC.

On the heels of its 73-67 win over North Carolina on Saturday, Wake Forest got blasted by Virginia on Wednesday night, 74-51 in Charlottesville.

Saturday's matchup with Wake Forest still will be a good one. After the win over North Carolina, it looked like the Deacs were heading for ACC supremacy. Instead, the loss that followed Saturday's win has been reflective of many of the ACC teams this year, which has led to some national criticism of the strength of the conference.

Take Virginia for example, a team written off for dead after going 2-3 in the month of December. The Hoos have won their first two conference games. They come to Pittsburgh on February 2.

While this won't be a matchup of conference unbeatens, it could also be the head-scratching loss for Pitt that has affected most of the ACC teams this year (i.e. Th Wake Forest example, Duke losing to Notre Dame last Saturday, who then turned around and lost to N.C. State on Tuesday.

* Don't look too far ahead, but a win by Pitt Saturday, and Tuesday in Atlanta against Georgia Tech makes them 4-0 in conference play. A win over North Carolina on Saturday, and one at Boston College on Monday, Syracuse will also be 4-0 in conference play. Sure, we've seen Pitt and Syracuse meet for all the marbles before. But, who would've expected their first meeting as ACC members would be the same?

But again, if Pitt and Syracuse are true ACC teams--meaning they are going to have a loss that makes you say, 'huh?', that opportunity would be Saturday for Pitt, and Monday for Syracuse.

* One of the biggest things seen in the two ACC games has been the play of the true freshmen.

Mike Young was one of three players in double-figures in Saturday's win at N.C. State. Josh Newkirk has seen his minutes go up dramatically--16 minutes a game. He scored eight in Monday's win over Maryland. Artis is also averaging 11.5 minutes a game.

While it might look good on the surface, Mike Young's name hit the Twittersphere yesterday.

Young referred to the fact that he's never been part of something where he was told not to shoot. For those that know the Pitt program under Jamie Dixon, you have to play defense first to earn time on the floor.

The tweet was taken down as of Thursday. As of Thursday afternoon, no known repercussions have been announced by the team. Young should be fine. He's been a pretty humble kid since he got here, and even going back to his recruiting process. It is tough for this whole freshman class--to go from being the guy counted on to lead his high school team or AAU team, to coming to Pitt and being asked to play defense to get on the floor.

The system certainly works. Young's tweet is sort of surprising, considering the fact he's started all 15 games to date, and done well. Perhaps it's part of the maturing process of being a freshman.

Then again, Dixon's players have always been pretty well-behaved. If this is as bad as it gets--a tweet that doesn't even contain vulgar or questionable language--we should all be thankful. Looks to be nothing more than a minor blip on the radar.

* Based on the way this season has gone, has Lamar Patterson earned your vote for an All-ACC honor? He has mine. Then again, this is only two games. However, through two games, Patterson is doing exactly what he should be doing as a fifth-year senior--taking over games when it's all on the line.

Talib Zanna, the other fifth-year senior, has been a second-half player in both ACC games. His second half performances have been huge for Pitt. In order to become one of those ACC teams that suffers an upset loss, Pitt needs a complete game from Zanna.

* Shifting gears to recruiting a little bit, there is no news on the Detrick Mostella front. According to one source close to the situation, there is still hope, but it doesn't look good.

Technically, while Mostella committed to Pitt over the summer, Dixon cannot speak on him because he is not officially signed with Pitt.

It was expected that this was an eligibility issue that would be cleared by this point, allowing Mostella to join the team midseason. That has not been worked out yet.


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