The Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils are the next opponent for Pitt, coming in at 0-1 out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). There isn’t a huge amount of information on the team that I could find, but from what I can tell, this should be a fairly easy contest. The team is lead by 6’3″ senior guard Stanford Speech, a preseason all-SWAC pick, and Larry Cox, a 6’10” senior center that gives them a solid inside presence. For reasons that I can not determine, however, Cox did not play in the Devils’ opening loss to Ole Miss, and he might be injured for the upcoming contest- certainly a huge boost for Pitt. MVSU managed only 27 rebounds against Ole Miss, and I forsee a similar result against Pitt, with Sam Young having the advantage over 6’6″ PF Eric Petty, a community college transfer who scored 13 points in the season opener. MVSU does like to shoot the three- they took 18 of them against Ole Miss, but that might have been from being down by 34 points, as they only made six of their outside shots. The Delta Devils don’t have too much height, and with one center possibly out, they might have to rely on CC transfer Joseph Reed, a 6’8″ junior who managed to foul out in only twelve minutes of play against Ole Miss, garnering only one rebound.
If this is anything less than a twenty-point win, I’ll be rather dissapointed. This team seems more like NC A&T, a team that plays three guards and two power forwards, which is exactly the kind of team we can pick apart inside and then use the collapsing defenses to kick the ball out to Wanamaker, Young, Fields, or Ramon to hit their jumpers. This also gives Dejuan Blair the ability to work on his defense against a smaller center such as himself, but I can’t see him having any trouble with a couple of community college transfers. I’d really like to see the Panthers come out and work on their outside shot- if they want to have any chance of beating teams like Louisville and Georgetown, they can not shoot 30% from beyond the arc and only 50% from the free throw line. I’d also like to see Gilbert Brown start driving to the post, and Tyrell Biggs throwing some elbows down low. This should be a fairly easy victory for Pitt, so long as our team doesn’t look ahead to Buffalo.