What you need to know about Virginia’s Friday ACC hoops opener with Pitt
Virginia (5-3) hosts Pitt (2-5) in its ACC opener on Friday. Tipoff at John Paul Jones Arena is set for 8 p.m.
- The Virginia-Pitt game will be televised on ACC Network and streamed online at WatchESPN.com and ESPN App.
- The game will also be broadcast on Virginia Sports Radio Network, VirginiaSports.com and Virginia Sports app.
- Live statistics will be located on VirginiaSports.com and the Virginia Sports app.
- UVA is led by its returning backcourt of Kihei Clark (10.9 ppg & 4 apg) and Reece Beekman (7.3 ppg, 3.8 apg & 2.5 spg), and the additions of transfers Jayden Gardner (14 ppg & 8.3 rpg) and Armaan Franklin (11.8 ppg).
- Clark has played 101 games at UVA and has a 10-game 3-point streak dating back to last season, while Beekman ranks seventh nationally with 20 steals.
- The Cavaliers added transfers Gardner (East Carolina) and Franklin (Indiana) to fill the void left by standouts Sam Hauser (16 ppg), Jay Huff (13 ppg) and Trey Murphy III (11.3 ppg).
- Gardner averaged 18.5 points and 8.9 rebounds in 79 career games at East Carolina, while Franklin averaged 11.4 points and shot 42.5 percent from 3-point range for the Hoosiers in 2020-21.
- Kadin Shedrick (6.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg & 3 bpg) and Francisco Caffaro (4.3 rpg) anchor the paint, while Taine Murray, Igor Miliĉić Jr., Malachi Poindexter, Kody Stattmann and Carson McCorkle provide perimeter depth.
- John Hugley has scored 20 or more points three times and also has three double-doubles through the first seven games of the season. He currently ranks among the league leaders in scoring (9th – 15.9 ppg.), rebounds (6th – 8.1 rpg.), field goal percentage (10th – .506) and offensive rebounds (2nd – 3.14 orpg.).
- Pitt is playing without its top five scorers from a season ago with a season-ending injury to Nike Sibande, a suspension of Ithiel Horton, the departure of Justin Champagnie to the NBA and two offseason transfers. Femi Odukale (6.6 ppg.) and John Hugley (5.1 ppg.) are the only returning players to average better than 5.0 points per game last season. The tandem has combined for 46.0 percent (196-of-426) of the team’s scoring on the season.
- Femi Odukale is averaging 13.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 45.5 percent (55-of-121) from the field in 12 career games when playing over 25 minutes. He has scored in double figures in seven of those 12 contests.
- Dan Oladapo made his first six shots of the season and is a team-best 15-of-20 (.750) from the field overall. He is now shooting 56.8 percent (288-of-507) from the field for his career.
- Jamarius Burton is averaging 8.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 28.3 minutes per game after missing five weeks of action including Pitt’s first two games of the season due to injury. He has scored 10 or more points 28 times in his career with his team posting a 21-7 record in such games.
- John Hugley has grabbed three or more offensive rebounds four times, including a career-high matching five offensive boards against Minnesota. He posted his third double-figure rebounding game and finish with a career-best 14 rebounds versus the Golden Gophers.
- William Jeffress has grabbed five or more rebounds in six of Pitt’s seven contests. He ranks among the ACC leaders in rebounds (T-21st – 6.1 ) and offensive rebounds (T-11th – 1.86 orpg.).
- Femi Odukale ranks fourth in the ACC in free throw attempts per game (6.3 ftapg.) and sixth in made free throws (4.0 ftpg.). He has raised his free throw percentage to 63.6 percent (28-of-44) by going 16-of-17 (.941) from the line over the past three games.
- Mouhamadou Gueye grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds against Minnesota and is now averaging 5.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game. He also leads the Panthers and ranks eighth in the ACC in blocks (1.14 bpg.).
- Pitt is averaging 28.9 points in the paint and 13.9 points from the foul line per game. Interior scoring and foul shots have accounted for 70.2 percent (299-of-426) of the team’s points through seven games.
- Pitt has been outscored 198-81 from three-point range through seven games. Pitt’s top two returning three-point threats Nike Sibande (injury) and Ithiel Horton (suspension) have not played a game this season. Onyebuchi Ezeakudo (3-of-5, .600) and Femi Odukale (5-of-14, .357) are the lone Panthers shooting over 35.0 percent from three-point range.
- Pitt has nearly as many made free throws (97) as its opponents have attempted (100) through the first seven games of the season. The Panthers are averaging 22.7 free throw attempts per game and have outscored the opposition by 30 points from the free throw line.
- The past two meetings between Pitt and Virginia have been decided by a combined 10 points. The Panthers dropped a 59-56 decision at the Petersen Events Center during the 2019-20 season before falling 73-66 at John Paul Jones Arena last season.