Indiana Needs a Win Badly Vs Pitt in the Jimmy V Classic

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2009

When the Hoosiers step on to the court at Madison Square Garden, they will look across the court at a team that isn't so familiar to the nation.

The Pittsburgh Panthers have a brand new starting lineup this year, with last year's lone returning starter Jermaine Dixon almost back from breaking his foot two months ago, and sixth man Gilbert Brown on academic suspension.

But although they are losing 80 percent of their scoring from last season, head coach Jamie Dixon has coached up some young stars in the making.

The Hoosiers are going to have to watch out for sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs, who is the teams leading scorer, with 16 points per game, and right behind him is junior guard Brad Wanamaker, who has 12.5 pts per game.

Indiana will need big defensive performances from Jeremiah Rivers and Maurice Creek while they are most likely guarding these, too.

Also, the Hoosiers must be wary of the Anderson, IN native, Gary McGhee. The 6'10'' junior center will challenge the Hoosiers post presence, and Tom Pritchard and Tijan Jobe/Bawa Muniru will need to do well on the defensive glass, and get him into foul trouble early.

Indiana needs this win to gain some confidence going into the big matchup this weekend versus Kentucky, as well as the long Big Ten season.

This season was supposed to be an improvement from last year, but so far, while the play has improved, there hasn't been much improvement in the win column.

If the Hoosiers can confuse the Panthers on defense, and score in the paint and from behind the arc on offense, they should have a good chance to win and pull off the upset.

Likewise, if the Panthers can get Ashton Gibbs off to a hot start, and take advantage of the Hoosiers youth, Pitt will put this game away.

The stage is set, on the floor of the "World's Most Famous Arena," for a great game.

I'll be there. Will you?