Five To Watch For: Pitt-Maryland

Seth Allen is averaging 10.3 points a game in seven games this season. He led Maryland with 18 points in the last meeting between these two teams. With a few more games under his belt, this Maryland team already has a new look.

* One of the biggest keys for Pittsburgh on Saturday will be establishing a presence in the paint, mainly with Talib Zanna.

Zanna was unstoppable on Tuesday against Clemson, where he finished with 22 points. That's the type of performance Pitt needs from him, despite him only getting two rebounds. His ability to score underneath and put away second chance points was big for Pitt, and took pressure off the rest of the team.

Last Saturday, at Syracuse. Zanna still finished with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. He was 4-8 from the field. Not a bad percentage. But, he missed out on some second-chance points that would have made the difference in Pitt getting the win at Syracuse.

* Finding a way to stop Maryland point guard Seth Allen. Allen was still working his way back into the lineup for the Terps the last time these two teams met. Since then. He's made two starts, and is averaging 10.3 points a game.

Allen is not afraid to score, and he showed that in the last meeting, coming off the bench for a team-high 18 points. It sounds simple, but Pitt defenders will have to keep Allen in front of them. He's not a pass-first type of point guard, and he's not afraid to take it in and score.

* Pitt also can't get lost in thinking ahead to Duke on Monday. It's a tough turnaround, playing Monday night home after a Saturday night game. They've done it once before, beating Maryland by 20 just two nights after their ACC-opening win over N.C. State. It is Duke, one of the few schools in the country that every college basketball player wants to either play for or play against.

* Pitt must also find a way to keep forward Evan Smotrycz in check. He's a 37.2% (35-94) shooter from three-point range. He hit his first four three-pointers in the first half in the previous meeting. Jamie Dixon made one small adjustment at halftime, putting a taller player in Durand Johnson on him. It worked. Only this time, Pitt is without Johnson for the remainder of the season. They're going to have to rely on someone else.

* Aside from not looking ahead to Duke, and getting caught up in that hoopla, Pitt needs to look past Maryland's 11-8 record, and the fact the Terps have lost three of their last four. It's tough for any team to play on the road. Pitt has done well, going 2-1, but has only played three road games. Despite its recent stretch, Maryland has rebounded from two two-game losing streaks this season.


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