Pittsburgh's secret weapon
Saturday's Tennessee-Pittsburgh game will be, what I used to tell my teams, a "street fight." The game will be fiercely played because both coaches, Bruce Pearl and Jamie Dixon, foster a sense of toughness that permeates their programs. I love and appreciate the way both programs go about business on the court.
When I coached, we charted and rewarded on every possession the category of "offensive rebounds attempted." The more rebounds we attempted to grab with intensity, logically, the more we came up with. Seventy-five attempts was the magic number for our team. In other words, if you are teamed with a great offensive rebounder, you won't get every offensive rebound, but we thought it was important to reward the effort.
For the Vols, a major concern will be the overwhelming job Pittsburgh has done on the offensive glass so far this season. Since Jamie Dixon took over at Pittsburgh in 2003, the Panthers have grabbed an average of 40 percent of the available rebounds on their offensive end of the floor -- usually good enough to put them in the top 5 percent in the nation. But, this season, they have taken offensive rebounding to a whole new level, grabbing the rebound on almost 49 percent of their misses, tops in college basketball.
To read more about why Pittsburgh will beat Tennessee, as well as Fran's analysis of the Washington-Texas A&M matchup and Harrison Barnes, you must be an ESPN Insider.