South – No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Pitt
Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: South Region – No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Pitt

Line: Pitt -5.5
Why To Pick Colorado: It's one of the few teams able to go rebound for rebound with the tough Panthers. This isn't a good Pitt team from three, and if it's not on from the outside, it'll be one and done off the glass – Pitt lives at times off of second chance points. If they can get inside, Josh Scott and the Buffs should be able to score.
Why To Pick Pitt: Colorado doesn't do enough of the little things right. The backcourt is going to have a hard time with a Pitt team that's great at taking the ball away and doesn't make mistakes. The Buffs aren't efficient or effective with the ball, while Pitt won't have too many wasted possessions.
The Pick: Pitt 69-60. When Colorado gets cold, things get really, really ugly. There isn't enough scoring pop to keep up if the Panthers get on a roll early.

Colorado Buffaloes
Head coach: Tad Boyle Record: 23-11 Conference: Pac-12

What You Need To Know: The Buffs have just enough talent to challenge anybody in the country, and they're just enough inconsistent enough to be a bit of a mystery. Are they the team that beat Kansas earlier this year, or are they the listless bunch that got hammered at home vs. Arizona and then went on the road to get spanked at Utah? Head coach Tad Boyle has sometimes struggled to motivate his club, but if everyone is focused, this could be a dangerous sleeper. Forward Josh Scott is a load inside at 6-10, and his long arms allow him to get to loose balls on the glass and alter shots in the paint. He's also a skilled offensive player who can wear opponents down on the low block. Askia Booker provides the outside balance for Colorado, combining an ability to get to the rim with good vision in transition. He's not much of a threat from the outside, however, and can take bad shots. A lack of quality depth is an issue.
Strengths: Rebounding, Scoring Defense, Free Throw Shooting
Weaknesses: Three Point Shooting, Assist-Turnover Ratio, Three Point Shooting
How Far Will They Go?: They're certainly interesting enough to get hot for a game or two, but Pitt's defense will be too tough.

Pittsburgh Panthers
Head coach: Jamie Dixon Record: 25-9 Conference: ACC

What You Need To Know: The Panthers have a solid defensive team, but they've been worn down as the season has progressed, running into some offensive brownouts at times. Forward Lamar Patterson is a quality scorer who knows how to get to the free-throw line, and his ability to slash opens the floor for Pitt's shooters. Patterson can find his outside guys in the drive-and-kick game, and James Robinson can knock down the open look, but now he needs to be more consistent in the tournament. Talib Zanna is a presence inside at 6-9, 230 pounds, and he's tough to contain when he gets the ball on the low block. 6-4 guard Cameron Wright does a little bit of everything on the floor, highlighted by his ability as a quality defender.
Strengths: Rebounding, Assists, Assist-Turnover Ratio
Weaknesses: Three Point Shooting, Blocked Shots, Free Throws
How Far Will They Go?: There's a chance to make a very, very good run. The Panthers are able to fight a team like Florida in the next round, but first they have to get by Colorado – they can do that. They'll be a heartbreak loser to the Gators.