While continuing this stretch of firsts for Pitt in the ACC, this Saturday's game with Wake Forest marks the first Saturday afternoon home game in the ACC.
Maybe that's a stretch, but it is what it is. Nevertheless, another new conference opponent that shouldn't be overlooked.
Dixon is intrigued by a few of the matchups heading into this game with Wake Forest
- Throw in some familiarity with Harrisburg native Devin Thomas, leads the team in rebounding (8.9 per game). Coron Williams, a Robert Morris graduate who transferred to Wake Forest to finish out his eligibility, played against a lot of current Panthers in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am Summer league. Williams is averaging 10.3 points a game.
"Big physical guy," Dixon said of Thomas. "He's got to play a lot of minutes a a freshman, and a lot as a sophomore now. He's an inside out guy, good passer, pretty good rebounder."
Another is sophomore forward, Tyler Cavanaugh. Pitt got a taste of playing a stretch-four--a four player who as sort of a hybrid, will step out to shoot the three. Maryland's Evan Smotrycz did the exact same thing. He was a perfect 3-3 in the first half for Maryland. He went 1-8 in the second half.
That's how Dixon is approaching it, even though Cavanaugh has missed both three-point attempts in ACC play. The bigger threat is Williams, one of the conference top three-point threats, shooting at a 41.4% clip (36-87) for the season.
"That was the first time where their main guy, or their second guy was like that," Dixon said. "Cavanaugh is like that. It's a tough matchup for a lot of teams."
This is a Wake Forest team that beat North Carolina on Saturday, only to turn around and lose at Virginia on Wednesday night. Too early to tell if there were things that worked against the Tar Heels, that didn't work against the Cavaliers, according to Dixon. He hinted at a slow start, at which the Demon Deacons trailed early, 11-0 in he he first few minutes, never really able to to recover.
"There's so much with confidence, and getting off to a good start, and making some shots."
If there's one constant theme in the early part of the ACC season, it's been the parity of the league. Even taking these two teams alone. Pitt beat N.C. State on Saturday, who turned around and beat Notre Dame on Tuesday night. Notre Dame beat Duke on Saturday, their ACC debut, knocking the Blue Devils out of the AP Top Ten for the first time since 2008--a streak of 122 consecutive polls.
Wake has also seen its share of parity in the last week. Even more reason to be skeptical heading into Saturday's game, for both teams. Dixon, though, believes its nothing more than the early season of a conference where it becomes more clear each game who the top teams are. A process he says is typical of the early season, one that will look more obvious as the early part of the season continues.
"I think you see the same in every conference," Dixon said. "I just think it's part of it. You have great teams, and there's not much separation. There's not much to base it on. It's early. There's going to be plenty of opportunities for everybody. It hah to go through the entire season and see how everyone plays out."
Codi Miller-McIntyre (6-3, 195, Soph.
Coron Williams (6-1, 170, Grad.)
Travis McKie (6-7, 220, Sr.)
Tyler Cavanaugh (6-9, 230, Soph.)
Devin Thomas (6-9, 245, Soph.)
* James Robinson leads the ACC, and the country, with a 5.17:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. In seven of Pitt's 15 games this season, he's finished with four or more assists.
* Both teams combined have a total of three scholarship seniors. Travis McKie is the lone Wake Forest Senior. While Pitt's Lamar Patterson surpassed the 1,000-point plateau--the 42nd Pitt player to do so--McKie is 13 points away from being the 20th Wake Forest player with at least 1,500 points.
* From an individual standpoint, Lamar Patterson is coming off a 19-point performance against Maryland. Coron Williams is coming off 10 points against Virginia. Patterson has led the team, or tied for the team-lead in scoring nine times this year. Williams has reached double-figures nine times.