The End of the Beginning

Well, we’re finally here- the last game of our season-opening seven game homestand, as well as the final game that could really be considered a cakewalk. Yet again, Pitt finds itself playing an overmatched Toledo Rockets squad with an atrocious .58:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, a 1-5 team from the MAC that’s been allowing it’s opponents to shoot 51.1% from the floor. In fact, if you take out the 30% that opposing teams have been shooting from three against the Rockets, you wind up with a 2-point shooting percentage north of 61%, a ridiculous number that Pitt will be sure to exploit. Toledo’s tallest player is 6’9″, 190-pound stick Justin Anyijon, a freshman that is averaging under three rebounds in 20 minutes per game. Usually, Toledo would be lead by senior PG Kashif Payne, but he was granted a personal leave of absence before the season started, and hasn’t been with the team yet this year.

Toledo does have two servicable guards- 6’5″ Tyrone Kent and 6’3″ Jonathan Amos, both juniors averaging double-digits in scoring (18.5 ppg and 13.3 ppg, respectively). Both of them can shoot the ball fairly well: Kent at 40.2% including 16-45 (35.6%) from beyond, and Amos at a 44.8% clip while making three of the seven 3s he’s attempted thus far. Beyond those two, though, Toledo’s production drops off sharply, and I can’t imagine that Pitt will have much trouble handling two average-sized guards, with Mike Cook and Ronald Ramon free to guard the perimeter and prevent them from driving to the hoop, as they’ve been doing all season. Due to Toledo’s high turnover rate (over 16 per game) and Pitt’s recent affinity for forcing turnovers, I can imagine this being a lot like the BU game, with Toledo’s offense being severely disrupted by bad passing and the presence of Ramon, Fields, Wanamaker, and Blair around the ball. I’m not even going to make a prediction for this game, but I can say that it won’t be pretty. Finally, then, we’ll be able to get this show on the road.

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