World news – Pitt changes direction after Boston College is moved and heads south to meet Wake Forest

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It’s a good guess – a guarantee, actually – that Coach Jeff Capel didn’t spend much time on it has to celebrate Pitt’s win over Duke.

Maybe a quick text exchange with trainer Mike Krzyzewski and then to his office or home to watch the video from Boston College (the team that Capel thought was next on Pitt’s plan).

The next day, hopefully before he got too deep into the Boston College roster, the ACC stepped in, moved Pitt to BC, and replaced him with Pitt in Wake Forest. Both Boston College games were postponed this week due to Covid-19 complications in the program.
It’s just a minor glitch for Pitt (8-2, 4-1) leading a three-game winning streak to Winston-Salem, NC. Here are five thoughts before 6:00 p.m. Tip. A win would match Pitt’s best start to an ACC season he competed in 2013-14:

Capel probably didn’t count the number of games Wake Forest (3-6, 0-6) lost in a row (six).

He’s more concerned about how and why Virginia Tech / Wake Forest was a two-point game in the last minute last Sunday before the No. 16 Hokies got away with a 64-60 win.

And he will regularly preach before and during the game about Wake Forest’s 3-point shooter trio, Ismael Massoud, Jonah Antonio and Jalen Johnson, who each shoot at least 36.4% from a distance.

This game will mark two in a row in which Pitt will face Jalen Johnson. This is a final transfer from Tennessee, a good player but not on par with Duke’s NBA newcomer Jalen Johnson, who scored 24 points against the Panthers on Tuesday.

Pitts Xavier Johnson increased his scoring average from 11.7 points last year to 14.5 points, but he already has more assists (an ACC-leading 61) than in 33 games in 2019-20 .

« I really don’t care if I score this year, » he said. « The main thing is that we win. »

“Most point guards just want to hit the ball, play every game, and be the hero. I am not anymore. I’ve grown beyond that. I want my teammates to be successful too.  »

He also appreciates the trust Capel has put in him to deal with basketball, manage the quick break and find the open man. Even if it’s not perfect.

« He trusted me and I trust him as my trainer. Love him to death, ”he said.

Johnson averages 4.3 rebounds, but he could soon be overtaken by 6-foot-8 sophomore Abdoul Karim Coulibaly, who looks like the second best member (behind Justin Champagnie) of Pitt’s 2019 four-man recruiting class.

Coulibaly has started nine out of ten games and averages 4.1 rebounds in less than 20 minutes of play. He also leads the team in shooting percentages (54.5, 18 out of 33).

Coulibaly performs two other functions that seem trivial but are essential in Capel’s system: speaking and walking.

Capel insists that his players speak to each other on the floor so that everyone is pointing in the same direction. It’s so easy to run to the right spot on the floor, but Capel said if it doesn’t result in a basket for Coulibaly it will help someone else score.

« Two of his fouls came, I thought, games that could have brought charges. They were blocks.

« But the fact that he even tried to file a charge is a big deal to us because that’s something we tried to work with him to do that. » We’re different when he’s not on the ground for us.  »

With more than a month in the season, Justin Champagnie leads the ACC in the ranking (20.25 points per game) and in the rebound (13).

« Sometimes you can train hard, and if a coach says, » Let’s do some work afterwards, « that can be seen as a punishment, » said Capel. « Justin has gotten to the point where he’s asking us to do extra things. That’s a big part of his success. »

Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out, Pitt can be expected to break his three-year run of last or last place in the ACC.

Pitt and Florida State are in third place in the ACC with 15 teams, within striking distance of Virginia (5: 0) and Virginia Tech (5: 1). The Hokies appear on Pitt’s schedule on February 3rd.

For now, the advancement of the Wake Forest game is keeping Pitt off the Super Bowl Sunday menu of sporting events. It was originally scheduled for February 7th.

Jerry DiPaola is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.

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