There has been one common theme surrounding the four losses the Pitt Panthers basketball team has suffered so far during the 2012-13 campaign- the lack of rebounding.
Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon has stressed the importance of rebounding over and over again, but the message hasn’t exactly gotten through yet.
Currently Pitt ranks only 190th in the nation, pulling down only 34.7 boards per contest, which is not like a Pitt team.
It has hurt them at stretches throughout the season, especially in the four losses where the Panthers have been beat on the boards in every game.
Michigan outrebounded them 37-26, while Cincinnati held a 37-32 edge on the glass. Rutgers crushed the Panthers on the boards 36-24 and Marquette held a 38-33 edge.
But it just hasn’t been the amount of rebounds as much as it has been timely rebounds. In each loss, offensive rebounds played a big role as the Panthers allowed extra possessions late in games.
Pitt outrebound opposing teams regularly during their soft non-conference schedule, but Dixon knew it was a potential problem since the beginning of the season.
The Panthers have only had five double-digit rebounding efforts from players in their 18 games this season. Given the size Pitt has with Steven Adams, Talib Zanna and Dante Taylor they should be a good rebounding team, but aren’t showing that on a consistent basis.
Adams (5.9) and Zanna (5.4) are the only Pitt players averaging over five rebounds per game, which is something that has to change very soon.
But the problem doesn’t necessarily lie with the Panthers big men.
The guards don’t do a very good job of helping out on the glass. The starting backcourt of Tray Woodall and James Robinson have combined to average only 4.4 rebounds per game. In addition other guys such as Lamar Patterson (3.8) and J.J. Moore (3.8), who need to be counted on the rebound well, haven’t done so consistently to this point of the season.
Consistency has been the main problem. Every Panthers’ big has had a game or two where they rebounded the ball well, but they haven’t been able to do it on a consistent basis.
If that doesn’t change soon, then Pitt won’t be much of a factor in the Big East Conference and beyond.
That can all begin Saturday when Connecticut visits the Petersen Events Center.
If the Panthers are having issues rebounding the ball, the Huskies are in much worse shape, ranking only 285th in the nation (32.2 RPG).
U Conn boasts only two players- DeAndre Daniels (4.7) and Shabazz Napier (4.4) who are averaging over four rebounds per game.
Dixon’s squad has been in a position to win every single game this season, which gives you plenty of hope going forward.
But to go on a winning streak, they can’t take nights off rebounding the basketball.
Rebounding will play a big factor Saturday afternoon against the Huskies. We will see if the Panthers make a statement.
Photo Credit: CBS Sports