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Man suspected of killing ex-NFL player Joe McKnight released without charges

The man suspected of shooting and killing former NFL player Joe McKnight on Thursday afternoon was released overnight without being charged, authorities in Louisiana said on Friday.

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Ronald Gasser, 54, is accused of killing the former NFL running back in what authorities characterized as a possible road rage incident in Terrytown.

"Gasser was released overnight and has not been charged as of yet," Cpl. John Fortunato, of the Jefferson Parrish Sheriff's Office, said in a statement to The Advocate. "The matter remains under investigation." 

Fortunato told The Times-Picayune that investigators are working with the district attorney's office to determine whether any charges will be filed against Gasser.

Authorities were called around 2:45 p.m. Thursday after McKnight, 28, was shot at an intersection in Terrytown. Officers found him with multiple gunshot wounds and attempted to resuscitate him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, and deputies took Gasser into custody. Authorities said he remained on the scene until law enforcement officers arrived and surrendered a gun to deputies.

Sheriff Newell Normand told The Times-Picayune that McKnight did not have a gun.

A witness, who was not identified, told The Advocate that she saw an armed man prior to the shooting and heard as several shots were fired. She saw the shot man wounded in the street and told The Advocate that he shouted "I told you don't (expletive) with me."

The man fired another shot after shouting, a witness told The Times-Picayune. Before the shooting, McKnight was attempting to apologize to the man, the witness said.

McKnight played three seasons for the New York Jets and one with the Kansas City Chiefs. He spent this season in the Canadian Football League, playing two games for the Edmonton Eskimos and three for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He ran for 150 yards against Toronto on Oct. 15 in his Saskatchewan debut.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Against the Odds: Pitt a huge favorite

Vegas gives Pitt a huge edge in this year’s city game, by favoring the Panthers by double digits.

The City Game has lacked some drama for over a decade, as Pitt is currently on a 15 game winning streak over the Duquesne Dukes. Due to the start by both teams, Vegas believes this year will make it 16 for Pitt this evening. The Panthers opened at a 13.5 favorite over the Dukes.

The game will be played at the PPG Paints Arena (formerly Consol Energy Center) at 7PM tonight and can be viewed on the ACC Network or WatchESPN. Pitt comes in looking to get a foot into the top-25 door and sports a 6-1 mark right now. Despite some early scares, head coach Kevin Stallings’ team seems to be starting to gel a little bit. Not a ton, but a little bit. Duquesne, and Jim Ferry, on the other hand, are struggling a bit.

While Pitt is coming off a huge 73-59 win, at Maryland, Duquesne just dropped one to UMBC. The Dukes have also lost games to UT Martin and Canisius. One would think they will have their hands full with Michael Young, who comes in averaging over 23 points per game for Pitt and Vegas agrees.

Many believe Pitt is looking at a ranking, or really close to it, with a win. Young says Pitt knows the Dukes are looking at this as their biggest game of the year, so the Panthers will be looking at it that way too. If Pitt can do that, Vegas is predicting a big win.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh

Lawsuit claims Johnny Manziel broke nose of Texas bar employee

An Austin, Texas, bar employee has filed a lawsuit accusing troubled Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of punching him in the face and breaking his nose.

According to a brief summary of the lawsuit filed Monday in Travis County, the man was working as a bar-back when Manziel demanded that he prepare drinks. The man informed Manziel he could not fulfill his order because he was not a bartender.

Later in the evening, a member of Manziel’s group at a private party overheard the man talking about Manziel to a different customer. According to the lawsuit, Manziel learned of the conversation and then punched the plaintiff in the face, breaking his nose. Manziel ran out the bar’s back exit before police arrived.

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Attorneys for the plaintiff could not be reached for comment.

This marks yet another legal scrape for Manziel, who recently reached an agreement to dismiss charges in a domestic violence case stemming from an alleged attack on his ex-girlfriend. Colleen Crowley told police that Manziel struck her several times and ruptured her eardrum during a February altercation in Fort Worth. Crowley alleged that Manziel threatened to kill both of them.

Manziel, who won the 2012 Heisman Trophy in his redshirt freshman season at Texas A&M, did not play in the NFL this season. The Cleveland Browns parted ways with Manziel over the offseason amid reports of him continuing to party even after he attended a rehabilitation clinic and vowed to get sober.

Pitt said to be in the running for Notre Dame transfer quarterback Malik Zaire

We've lamented quite a bit about Pitt's quarterback situation for next season. Not that it's guaranteed to be bad, only uncertain. With starter Nathan Peterman out of eligibility, Pitt is likely to experience some growing pains with the current roster, no matter who would win the job.

The Panthers, though, might be in the mix to add a little bit of experience via a potential transfer in Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire. Zaire will be a graduate transfer and, like Peterman was, would be eligible to play right away. He will have one year of eligibility left.

Plenty of schools are likely to be interested, of course. Scout says Pitt is among a group that includes Wisconsin, Florida, and Michigan State (though the Spartans have been apparently ruled out since they play Notre Dame next year).

So what makes the Panthers look like a potential destination? Well, in addition to the obvious chance for immediate playing time, 247 says he has a relationship with Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Ordinarily, that in and of itself would be attractive. But factor in how well Pitt's offense performed under Canada this season, and it has to make the Panthers even more on Zaire's radar.

And about that competition, SB Nation sees a few more roadblocks to playing time at Florida and Wisconsin than at Pitt. One of them, ironically, is Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who was of course a Pitt commit before Paul Chryst left for the Badgers. Funny how that works out.

Zaire would give Pitt some much-needed experience - but not a ton of it. After playing sparingly in 2014, he was named the Irish's starter in 2015. He had a huge game against Texas (19-22 for 313 yards and three touchdowns) in the opener, but was injured in the second game and missed the rest of the year. This year, he played a little but lost his starting job.

In all, he's thrown fewer than 100 college passes for a total of only 816 yards. Still, there's obviously enough promise there that he will be a hot commodity.

I don't know what Pitt's chances truly are for landing Zaire. Even if Michigan State is out of the running, Florida and Wisconsin both are strong programs. But at the very least, it seems as if the Panthers have his attention. If Pitt does manage to land him, you have to think they will have the look of a preseason Top 25 team. They already might be anyway, but adding a quality quarterback to the mix makes them even stronger.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

ACC Bowl Projection Roundup, Pre-Championship Week

Consensus wisdom has the Panthers in the Sun Bowl (against Stanford or Utah) or the Pinstripe Bowl (against a Big Ten team) with less than a week to go before invitations get sent out.

With regular ACC play concluded, eleven of the fourteen teams in the conference (all but Virginia, Duke, and Syracuse) have reached the six-win plateau needed to go bowling. Clemson, barring a loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game, is expected to go the playoff, but from there it’s a shuffle - opinion is split between whether Florida State or Louisville will go to the Orange Bowl, and it ripples out further from there.

There is a remote possibility for a Backyard Brawl in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Many fans may enjoy seeing that.

Notre Dame is eligible for the ACC's bowl tie-ins, but is not included here because they went 4-8 and aren’t going bowling. I've included bowl payouts (source) as a metric of the prestige of the bowl, to remind us all of the inextricable link between commerce and nominally "amateur" athletics, and because the gift suites are probably better at the nicer bowls. Bowl payouts are not included for the playoff games and selection committee bowls because they are still to be determined. I’ve included “last Pitt visit” for additional selection context.

Projections Used

College Football PlayoffDecember 31st/Atlanta or Glendale, AZLast Pitt Visit: Never

  • Clemson vs. Ohio State (FOX, ESPN-1, ESPN-2, SI, SN, CFN, Ath, CBS, USA)
  • Clemson vs. Washington (SBN)

Orange BowlDecember 30th/MiamiLast Pitt Visit: Never

  • Louisville vs. Michigan (SBN, ESPN-2, SI)
  • Florida State vs. Michigan (FOX, ESPN-1, SN, CFN, Ath, CBS, USA)

Citrus BowlDecember 31st/Orlando/$4,250,000Last Pitt Visit: 1978

  • Florida State vs. LSU (ESPN-2, SI)
  • Louisville vs. Florida (SN, CBS)
  • Louisville vs. LSU (FOX, ESPN-1, Ath, USA)
  • Virginia Tech vs. Florida (CFN)
  • Virginia Tech vs. LSU (SBN)

TaxSlayer BowlDecember 31st/Jacksonville/$2,750,000Last Pitt Visit: 1980

  • Georgia Tech vs. Arkansas (ESPN-2)
  • Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky (FOX, ESPN-1)
  • Miami vs. Arkansas (SI, USA)
  • Miami vs. Kentucky (Ath)
  • Miami vs. Georgia (CFN)
  • Miami vs. Tennessee (SBN)
  • North Carolina vs. Tennessee (CBS)
  • Virginia Tech vs. Texas A&M (SN)

Russell Athletic BowlDecember 28th/Orlando/$2,275,000Last Pitt Visit: 2001

  • Florida State vs. West Virginia (SBN)
  • Louisville vs. West Virginia (CFN)
  • Miami vs. West Virginia (FOX, ESPN-1, ESPN-2)
  • North Carolina vs. Oklahoma State (SN)
  • BACKYARD BRAWL (Ath)
  • Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State (SI, CBS)
  • Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia (USA)

Sun BowlDecember 30th/El Paso, TX/$2,150,000Last Pitt Visit: 2008

  • Georgia Tech vs. Stanford (SI, SN, Ath)
  • Georgia Tech vs. Utah (CBS)
  • Pitt vs. Stanford (FOX, SBN, CFN)
  • Pitt vs. Utah (ESPN-1, ESPN-2, USA)

Pinstripe BowlDecember 28th/Bronx, NY/$2,000,000Last Pitt Visit: Never

  • Georgia Tech vs. Maryland (SBN)
  • Georgia Tech vs. Northwestern (CFN, USA)
  • North Carolina vs. Iowa (ESPN-2)
  • North Carolina vs. Maryland (Ath)
  • North Carolina vs. Minnesota (ESPN-1)
  • North Carolina vs. Northwestern (FOX)
  • Pitt vs. Northwestern (SI, SN, CBS)

Belk BowlDecember 29th/Charlotte/$1,700,000Last Pitt Visit: 2009

  • North Carolina vs. Arkansas (CFN)
  • North Carolina vs. Kentucky (SBN, USA)
  • North Carolina vs. Tennessee (SI)
  • Miami vs. Arkansas (CBS)
  • Miami vs. South Carolina (SN)
  • Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas (FOX, ESPN-1, Ath)
  • Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky (ESPN-2)

Independence BowlDecember 26th/Shreveport, LA/$1,200,000Last Pitt Visit: Never

  • NC State vs. Georgia (SN)
  • NC State vs. Vanderbilt (SBN, SI, USA)
  • Wake Forest vs. Georgia (ESPN-1)
  • Wake Forest vs. South Carolina (CFN, Ath)
  • Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt (FOX, ESPN-2)

Quick Lane BowlDecember 26th/Detroit/$1,200,000Last Pitt Visit: Never - the Quick Lane Bowl is not the Little Caesars Bowl

  • Boston College vs. Maryland (FOX, ESPN-1, ESPN-2, SI, CBS)
  • Boston College vs. Northwestern (SBN, Ath)
  • Wake Forest vs. Maryland (SN, USA)

Military BowlDecember 27th/Annapolis, MD/$1,000,000Last Pitt Visit: 2015

  • Boston College vs. Temple (USA)
  • NC State vs. Houston (CFN, Ath)
  • NC State vs. Temple (FOX, ESPN-1, ESPN-2)
  • Wake Forest vs. Houston (SBN)
  • Wake Forest vs. Temple (SI)

St. Petersburg BowlDecember 26th/St. Petersburg, FL/$537,500Last Pitt Visit: Never

  • Boston College vs. South Florida (SN, CFN)
  • Wake Forest vs. South Florida (CBS)
Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. @N_THEYSTAYTHERE expected more.

UnScripted: The Cardiac Hill Podcast w/ Corey Cohen (S2 Ep10)

Corey and Jim discuss Pitt Football's 76-61 win over Syracuse, a season wrap-up on 2016, options for bowl game destinations, and Pitt Basketball's double digit win at Maryland.

In this episode of UnScripted: The Cardiac Hill Podcast, Corey Cohen welcomes Jim Hammett to discuss Pitt Football's 76-61 win over Syracuse, a season wrap-up on 2016, options for bowl game destinations, and Pitt Basketball's double digit win at Maryland.

Michael Phelps logs lap time with son Boomer at Baltimore pool

It didn't take long for Michael Phelps to get back in the water, and he might have some future swimming competition.

Phelps' 6-month-old son Boomer went for a dunk in a Baltimore pool, but at first wasn't too sure about the water. He didn't want to let go of the instructor but then latched on to Daddy.

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Instructor Cathy Bennett, who is seen holding Boomer, was the same instructor who taught Phelps when he was young, the "Today Show" reported.

The complex is the same one where Phelps got his start.

Boomer was comforted so by Phelps holding him that he appears to nearly fall asleep in the water, but also kept a death grip on Daddy's chin and beard at times.

Phelps said that Boomer wasn't happy about getting his face wet, but handled it better than in previous outings. 

It was Bennett's third time swimming with Boomer, who will turn 7-months-old in December.

Watch the video below:

Posted by Michael Phelps on Monday, November 28, 2016

Pitt holds on for 73-59 win against Maryland in ACC-Big Ten Challenge

Pitt raced out to a big lead against Maryland and in the end, held on for a somewhat comfortable 73-59 win in their ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Maryland came into the game a four-point favorite or so, and that seemed about right. They were 7-0, had a couple of decent wins, and had the game at home. So when Pitt went up 45-24 at halftime, I don't think anyone expected that.

As I said in the gamethread, I expected the Terrapins to make a run after that. The Panthers got the lead up to 25 in the second and, well, Maryland did make a run. But while things got a little dicey, they didn't get any closer than eight.

Sure, it would have been nice to see Pitt hold that 20 point lead and absolutely run away with it, but you had to imagine at some point, Maryland would hit some shots. This wasn't a complete mismatch of talent so seeing Maryland make a game of things wasn't surprising. Plus, a lot of people will talk about Pitt's defense and I think that is a little misguided. Seth Greenberg said that after the game and talked about the defense being the key. The Panthers played okay defensively, but in reality, Maryland missed a boatload of wide open, uncontested shots and they shot under 35% for the game. If they were even halfway decent in knocking down shots, it's a much closer game.

That's to take nothing away from Pitt. The energy was there tonight and the effort was solid at both ends of the court. I criticized the team a little in a recent game for their offensive shot selection. I thought they did an outstanding job getting great shots. Young and Artis got to the basket and the jump shots the entire team took were largely uncontested. I have little doubt that Kevin Stallings emphasized that in practice because I think it was their best shot selection all season. It was very impressive how Pitt came out and played as a whole.

Pitt got great games from, you guessed it, Michael Young and Jamel Artis. Young had 25 points and nine rebounds, leading the team in both categories. Artis had 22 points, six boards, and a pair of steals. Greenberg made a good point after the game in asking if Artis would really be able to do what he needed to at the point down the stretch. The one thing that drove me a little nuts was how he was pretty loose with the ball on occasion. Twice, he nearly fell victim to over-and-back calls, coming close to going across the halfcourt line. That's really my only criticism and if you're grading Artis tonight, he gets an A instead of an A+. No real biggie.

I wanted to touch a little more on Young since it was a good game against a quality team. A lot of people expect his scoring to simply drop off once the competition gets better, but as I said before, we'll have to see how much that happens. The fact is that he and Artis get so many shots per game that his numbers might not even suffer that much. He may get a little less efficient (and truthfully, he had some problems getting buckets in the last ten minutes) but there's a very real chance he ends up being a 20-point scorer per game all the way through the year.

And of course, he's not only scoring. He leads the team in rebounds, too, and one oft-overlooked thing is his free throw shooting. He didn't get the easy buckets he sometimes does late in the game tonight, but he made his free throws, shooting 9-10. He's over 86% on the year as a center (let that sink in) and you don't need me to tell you that's a huge advantage. Whenever your team's best scorer is also a great free throw shooter, that's a tremendous deal since he can't be fouled intentionally late in games.

It was easy watching Young and Artis beating up on weaker competition. But I'm not so sure that will end even once they get into ACC play. The question, as has been stated more than it needs to be, is how much they get from the rest of the team.

Really big win for Pitt tonight and technically, it's a ranked win. The Terps were ranked 22nd in the USA Today Coaches Poll and while unranked in the AP poll, they were just outside at No. 26. The win against them should draw some attention nationally for the program.

Pitt is now 2-1 in their tougher games against Maryland, SMU, and Marquette. It's pretty hard not to be happy with that. The great news is that while Pitt has some challenging non-con games left against rivals Duquesne and Penn State, that the toughest part is now behind them. They have a long way to go, obviously, but finishing the non-conference schedule with a 12-1 record is a possibility. And given the number of decent opponents, that would be outstanding.

In the words of Chris Jericho, Drink it in, man.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Tale of the Tape: Pitt at Maryland

Breaking down the Pitt-Maryland matchup.

Point Guard

Melo Trimble 6’3” Junior 21.1 PPG // 3.0 RPG // 2.0 APG

vs.

Jamel Artis 6’7” Senior 19.3 PPG // 5.3 RPG // 3.8 APG

Melo Trimble is one of the absolute best guards in the country, and has been for some time. His draft stock fell from his freshman year, but he’s still a highly effective college player. Trimble has had to change his game from last year to this year. His scoring is up considerably, while his assist numbers are down. He went from being a piece of a highly talented team to being “the” guy on a young team. He takes a lot of shots and plays a lot of minutes. He is the key to this team. Maryland is off to an impressive 7-0 start in itself, but they haven’t been tested just yet. We’ll see perhaps tonight what Trimble and this team can do.

Jamel Artis is not a point guard. If you are a Pitt fan reading this, you know that by now. Artis has been Pitt’s starting small forward for the past two seasons, but with James Robinson graduating and no real options behind him emerging, Kevin Stallings has handed the keys to Artis. It has come with mixed results. Artis is a good scorer and passer. He’s physical and can rebound, pretty much everything you would want in a good wing player. The offensive end of this experiment isn’t all that bad, it’s trying to defend Trimble and aligning on defense as a whole that seems to be the issue with this lineup.

Shooting Guard

Anthony Cowan 6’0” Freshman 10.1 PPG // 5.1 RPG // 3.9 APG

vs.

Chris Jones 6’6” Senior 6.7 PPG // 2.8 RPG // 3.3 APG

Anthony Cowan is a true freshman from Washington DC. He was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. Cowan is on the smaller side, and with Trimble picking up his scoring, can slide into a point guard role just the same. His assist numbers are pretty good and can run the show when need be. His scoring can come and go however. He was 0-3 from the field in the overtime win over Kansas State, but had 18 in the prior game against Richmond.

Chris Jones is a veteran presence in the starting lineup. Jones has the ability to go for 15 points in one night, but could very easily be held scoreless. The biggest thing with him in his career is consistency. It’s been a lot of the same type of performances over the past two and a half seasons. Jones has added sharing the ball to his repertoire however. Without a true point guard out there, it’s sharing the ball by committee and Jones is averaging a career-best 3.3 assists in the early going this season. Pitt best win this year is over Marquette, and Jones had a season-high 13 points in that game. Perhaps it was coincidental, but Pitt could sure use a strong showing from Jones.

Small Forward

Kevin Huerter 6’7” Freshman 7.3 PPG // 5.3 RPG // 1.4 APG

vs.

Cameron Johnson 6’7” Sophomore 11.2 PPG // 3.8 RPG // 2.3 APG

Kevin Huerter is another four-star freshman starting for Mark Turgeon. He has reached double figures twice in the short season, and is not an assertive scoring option. He hits the glass well for a guard and can provide big numbers there. He had a 12 point 10 rebound performance just last week against Richmond. He may not be the top option offensively, but can give them production.

Cameron Johnson is Pitt’s third leading scorer in his first season as a full-time starter. Johnson is shooting a staggering 55% from behind the three-point line through six games. He’s the type of player that can carry Pitt through stretches with his hot shooting. He has made at least four three-pointers in three different games this season. His height and length helps him get shots off from deep, and is an asset to him defensively.

Power Forward

Justin Jackson 6’7” Freshman 11.7 PPG // 7.1 RPG

vs.

Sheldon Jeter 6’8” Senior 6.5 PPG // 7.7 RPG // 1.2 APG

Justin Jackson is yet again, a four-star freshman in the starting lineup. He has asserted himself right away as the Terrapins’ leading rebounder. Although he is the team leader in rebounds, Jackson has shown the ability to knock down outside shots. He is shooting 52% from behind the arc. Jackson is athletic and can block shots as well. This seems like a matchup nightmare for the Panthers.

Sheldon Jeter has been having a bit of disappointing season to date. He is shooting a very low 29% from the field to this point. I think shot selection has something to do with it. Jeter has been settling for deep jumpers, and his bread and butter is mid-range shots and working inside. If Pitt can get him going, they’ll be a much more dangerous team. He’s shown flashes throughout his career, he just seems to be in a bit of a slump. His rebounding numbers are up for sure, and that has not gone unnoticed. Pitt still needs him to hit the glass hard.

Center

Ivan Bender 6’9” Sophomore 4.7 PPG // 3.3 RPG // 1.4 APG

vs.

Michael Young 6’9” Senior 23.3 PPG // 8.2 RPG // 3.0 APG

Ivan Bender has been getting the starts the past few times out, and I’m expecting that to continue. Either way, he does not always get the bulk of the minutes as he averages just 13.3 minutes per game. Bender finished with 8 points and 0 rebounds in 9 minutes against Kansas State last week. He just seems like a placeholder more than anything.

Maryland just doesn’t have an answer for Michael Young, and frankly not many teams will this season. Young is off to a frantic start to his senior season, and is showing out on a nightly basis. He is shooting a career-high 58% from the floor, he is rebounding at a higher rate, and is setting up teammates better as well. Heck he is blocking shots now, something he’s never really done. He is improved in all facets and it’s noticeable. If there is one particular matchup Pitt can exploit in this game, it’s Young against anyone they choose to put on him. The Terps have some big bodies off the bench, but Young won’t be too bothered by it. He can take size off the dribble. While they don’t play the same position, having an early season game featuring Melo Trimble and Michael Young is a special treat for the average fan.

Bench

Michal Cekovsky 7’1” JuniorDamonte Dodd 6’11” SeniorL.G. Gill 6’8” SeniorDion Wiley 6’4” SophomoreJalen Brantley 5’11” JuniorJared Nickens 6’7” Junior

vs.

Ryan Luther 6’8” JuniorJustice Kithcart 6’1” FreshmanJonathan Milligan 6’2” JuniorDamon Wilson 6’5” Sophomore

Maryland seems comfortable going 11 deep if need be. After missing the first four games, junior seven-footer Michal Cekovsky is averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds in three games of action. Damonte Dodd is a veteran 6’11” player off the bench. Pitt fans may recall L.G. Gill, as he is a transfer from Duquesne and has played against the Panthers the past three seasons. He will provide depth behind Justin Jackson. Maryland has bodies and depth, but the bulk of their scoring comes from the starters.

Pitt has received solid production from Ryan Luther off the bench. In reality, he is an extension of the starting lineup and on certain nights can take up significant minutes. He has provided a spark and gives Pitt a solid depth option behind either Jeter or Young. Justice Kithcart has come in to provide minutes as the true point guard of the roster, but has played a lot like a freshman. Jonathan Milligan knocked down three three-pointers last game, and could be a shooting spark off the bench.

Against the Odds: Maryland opens as a slight favorite

Pitt and Maryland face off in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge tonight and Vegas is giving the Terps a slight edge.

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge gives Pitt a stern test tonight, as the Panthers travel to College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins. The Terps are 7-0 with some nice wins over Georgetown and Kansas State. Pitt enters the contest at 5-1 and Vegas has taken notice that the game will take place at the XFinity Center on the campus of Maryland. The Terps have opened as a four point favorite over Pitt tonight.

Everyone can view the game, starting at 7PM, on ESPN2. Pitt has a lot of questions to answer and a beating a power 5 conference foe would go a long way of settling an anxious fan base in Oakland. It will not be an impossible task, despite playing the underdog role. In addition to the Georgetown and Kansas State wins, Maryland has had some pretty close calls against teams that you wouldn’t expect them to have trouble early this season. They had to go to overtime against Richmond and also had small advantages over Towson and American in victories.

Therefore, the Terps have a few questions to answer to head coach Mark Turgeon, at tipoff this evening, as well. Pitt will have their hands full with a raucous College Park, MD crowd and Terps’ guard Melo Trimble. Trimble is averaging over 20 points per contest so far, so Pitt will have to keep his damage to a minimum. If they can do that, the Panthers could gain a little momentum as this young season begins to take form.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh

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