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FSU basketball: Pitt preview

The Noles (9-7, 1-2) face their third conference road game

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering through a 3-point barrage at Syracuse, FSU now has to get back out on the road. This time they're going to another great hoops venue, Pitt's Peterson Event Center.

The Panthers (11-5, 1-2) have been disappointing so far this season. After beginning at No. 23 at, they've fallen all the way to 100. Like the Noles, they've struggled to mount much of a defense. In fact, Pitt's defense is the 2nd worst in the ACC, just ahead of Virginia Tech. It's a strange year in the ACC when Jamie Dixon and Leonard Hamilton coach two of the softest defenses in the conference.

Pitt has been a little better than FSU on offense, and feature a promising sophomore in 6-9 Michael Young. He leads the team in scoring (13.4 per game), as well as rebounding (7.7). He's tough and physical - the kind of guy coaches love.

Unfortunately for Pitt, they don't have another semi-dominant post player to match him with. Talib Zanna graduated, leaving 6-7 Jamal Artis to regularly play against bigger players. Artis struggled with weight and conditioning as a freshman, but now he's in much better shape and averaging 9.1 per game.

The back court was supposed to be a major strength for Pitt, but so far they haven't been special. Junior point guard James Robinson is the guy everyone is waiting for to become a star, but he's yet to put it all together. Not being a knock down shooter is holding back his game, which is pretty strong everywhere else. 6-1 sophomore Josh Newkirk is quick and a great shooter (43% from deep for his career), but he's a low volume player. And 6-5 senior Cameron Wright might be the front runner for best perimeter defender in the conference now that Aaron Thomas is gone, but his offense has been inconsistant.

Overall, Pitt does well what they always do well: they don't turn it over and they're a terror on the offensive glass. For FSU to pull out the win on the road they'll need to get stops and get rebounds. If that happens, and if that turns into transition, then FSU has a decent chance. This is a better matchup than the Syracuse game.

The game tips at 9 pm and will be broadcast regionally on Fox Sports Florida/Sun Sports/ESPN3. Check your listings. Pitt opened as a 7-point favorite and it has since been bet down to Pitt -5.