The loss on Saturday to UNC was not anything unexpected. Just because Pitt played them well in Chapel Hill a few weeks prior didn’t mean Pitt was going to pull an upset. UNC has been playing a lot better and Pitt has been… as they have been.
No one seems to have wanted to admit this around the team, but defense and rebounding make a difference. At least until it was absurdly beaten into them.
And led to a post game quote from Jamel Artis that kind of sums up this team:
“Obviously we would have liked to come out with a win and it’s very disappointing. We thought we had a good chance to win, but we didn’t go out and play as hard as we could have. I think we learned how important the defensive side and rebounding are to winning a game.”
Way to figure that out 29 games into the season. I’m sure you will take that lesson to heart with all the games still to play.
UNC has been stronger all season on offensive rebounding, but against Pitt it was taken to a new level. UNC grabbed 24 offensive rebounds in the game and 48 overall. Pitt had just 9 offensive rebounds — which depressingly enough is actually an improvement over the Wake Forest game where they only had 9 — and only 28 total. That UNC was close to having as many offensive boards as Pitt had total rebounds is absurd.
Not that it would have made a difference, but once more Pitt’s 3-point shooting disappeared in the second half. After going 5-12 in the first half, Pitt shot 2-12 in the second. And if you dip back to when UNC made their 10-0 run to put Pitt down by 12 at the half, Pitt had been 5-10 on 3s before that 3-minute bludgeoning by UNC. Pitt missed two 3s in that stretch.
Finishes the regular season on the road. Tomorrow at Georgia Tech and then on Saturday at Virginia. If Pitt doesn’t win one of those games, they will finish the regular season with a losing record. Their first since 1999-2000.