Five To Watch: Pitt-Wake Forest

Coron Williams is coming off a 25-point performance against Notre Dame on Wednesday. The focus may be on him, but the Panthers cannot forget about Codi Miller-McIntyre, either.

* Probably the biggest question for Pittsburgh, in facing Wake Forest this time around, is if Coron Williams is the go-to guy right now.

Coming off a 25-point performance in Wednesday's 81-69 win over Notre Dame, as Pitt fan, you hope Williams isn't the 2014 version of Kemba Walker, or Gerry McNamara--two big-time players who sparked their underdog teams, to upset higher-seeded teams like Pitt. It's happened before. There's also a level of familiarity for Williams, who spent his undergrad years at Robert Morris.

* Just because this is a 17-15 Wake team, that also went 6-12 in ACC games, keep in mind when these teams met two months ago, it was a battle for first-place in the ACC.

* Stuaint with Coron Williams, Pitt cannot forget abou Codi Miller-McIntyre and Harrisburg native Devin Thomas.

Miller-McIntyre wasn't much of a factor the last time, but he drew the most attention from Pitt's perimeter defense. If Williams is in the flow for Thursday's game with Pitt, Miller-McIntyre is the wrong type of player that is easy to forget about.

Same with Thomas. He's good for a double-double per game, as he had 19 points and 10 rebounds against Notre Dame. He had 17 points and nine boards in the first meeting. Interestingly, the teams were even on the boards, 31-31.

A hot shooting guard is clutch at this time of year. A big game from both Miller-McIntyre and Williams might be too much to expect from Wake. It going to be tough to stop both.

* Pitt needs to ride the momentum of Josh Newkirk's game-tying jumper from Saturday. Not only was that a big play for the game, but it capped a 5-0 run for Oitt to tie that game, as well as the 7-0 run to start the overtime.

That play by Newkirk may be the play, the spark, that Pitt has needed.

* Speaking of Newkirk, he has certainly proved to be worth of more minutes. Though his minutes dropped considerably in this past game--from 34 in the N.C. state game where he had a career-high 20, to 20 minutes at Clemson where he had four, he has proved he can handle it. In his last five games, he's 8-10 from three-point range. His only two misses were 0-1 performances at Boston College and Notre Dame.

As mentioned earlier. Guard play is extra important this time of year. What better way to help Pitt chances in this ACC Tournament, and beyond, than by having some big-time play from one of their own.

* Lamar Patterson. This is his last go-around. You almost venture to say, just give him the ball, and get out of his way. Jamie Dixon doesn't coach that way, but it wouldn't be a bad gameplan. Or at the very least, creating a few plays specifically for Patterson.

Pitt likes to be patient on offense, winding the shot clock down. At times this year, it's hurt them--mostly when they're forcing shots, or just not finishing. Patterson is the one guy on this team, or the one best-suited, to be the finisher. He's capable of making the big play, and he has the most postseason experience of anyone on this roster. Give him the ball, and get out of his way.


Panther More Top Stories