This past week the University of Pittsburgh basketball team lost their most valuable player for a good chunk of the season.
Don’t worry Pitt fans you will still get a chance to watch Ashton Gibbs stroke the three, but who is going to set him up.
During their annual City Game against Duquesne University at CONSOL Energy Center that took place Wednesday night, floor general Travon Woodall suffered a groin strain and abdominal tear in Pitt’s 80-69 victory.
Woodall is scheduled to be out for a month. Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon will have to get use to game planning without one of his best playmakers. The Panthers will rely on a trio of freshmen to help run their offense.
Isaiah Epps will be joined by teammates Cameron Wright and John Johnson to help run the point in Woodall’s absence. Gibbs will also see increased minutes at point guard through the duration of Woodall’s departure.
Although Pitt’s depth is more than enough to get them by in Woodall’s absence, no one will be able to perform like he has to start off the season.
Through the first seven games of the season Woodall has been the rock that this Panthers team has relied on to get to a 6-1 record and a No. 17 ranking in the country.
Woodall is nearly averaging a double-double in the early season with 14.1 points per game and 8.3 assists per game which leads the Big East conference and is third best in the country. In the first seven games of the season, Woodall has recorded a double-double in four of them thanks in large part to his improved shooting.
Woodall has improved drastically on his three point shooting making 45% of his shots. He is known for his quick explosive speed and will frequently try to make a play by taking the ball to the rack.
In the past it hasn’t worked out as he planned but since he has improved his percentage from the free throw line to 85%, he has the confidence to play more to his style.
Pittsburgh will face their first test without their star point guard tonight when they travel to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers in the Big East/SEC Challenge.
The good thing for Pitt is that Woodall could only miss one game in conference when they open up conference play on Dec. 27 at Notre Dame.
There is a good chance that the Panthers could still compete and win without Woodall, which makes it all the more dangerous for opponents when he returns.