Experienced Iowa to Challenge Panthers

Pitt to travel to No. 14 Hawkeyes in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Josh Rowntree
November 26, 2018 - 5:23 pm
Pittsburgh Panthers guard Jared Wilson-Frame (0) shoots against Wake Forest Demon Deacons guard Mitchell Wilbekin (10) during the first half at the Petersen Events Center.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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Pitt men’s basketball is off to a 6-0 start under new head coach Jeff Capel. But Tuesday will provide Capel and the Panthers their biggest challenge yet, as Pitt heads to Iowa City, Iowa to meet the No. 14 Hawkeyes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. 

“They’re old, they’re experienced, they’re very well coached,” Capel said Monday. “They play really well together, they have really good inside guys and they have an experienced backcourt.”

And Capel is right, on all accounts. 

Iowa is 5-0, with impressive wins over No. 13 Oregon and Connecticut, with both games coming on a neutral court in New York City. 

“They’ve been a good defensive team this year. They mix their defenses up and they’ve played well. To go up to New York, to the Garden, and have the performances they did against Oregon and UConn, that’s very, very impressive. So they’re a really good team.”

The Hawkeyes start one freshman, three juniors and a sophomore and have been led by a talented frontcourt, as forwards Tyler Cook and Luka Garza combine to score 32.2 points per game. 

“They’re like a well-oiled machine,” said Panthers senior Jared Wilson-Frame, who is scoring 16 points per game while working off the bench. “They’ve got a lot of returners. They just play really well together. They’re seasoned, they don’t make that many mistakes and they’re pretty sharp at what they do.”

Pitt will, once again, likely start a trio of freshmen, as Xavier Johnson, Trey McGowens and Au’Diese Toney are combining to score 36.5 points per game. This time, however, it will be in a hostile environment for the first time this season. But Wilson-Frame is confident that the newcomers will be ready for that challenge. 

“The one thing I like about out our freshmen, and all of our new players, is that they want to know how it is,” he said.  “They ask the important questions on what it’s going to be like and what to expect.”

Capel, however, isn’t so sure just yet. 

“I’m concerned,” he said. “It’s great to be 18-22 (years old). You don’t have concerns. I’m concerned about every little thing. It will be interesting to see how they are in this environment. This will be a very different environment.”

Tuesday’s game will be the first meeting between the two programs since 1976 and will tip off at 9 p.m. It can be heard on 93.7 The Fan. 

Head all of what Jeff Capel had to say below.