The University at Albany men's basketball team will walk into the Petersen Events Center, Friday night, without any pressure, but full of their own expectations.

While they are certainly the underdog, facing off against No. 11 Pittsburgh, the defending Big East regular season champions, the Great Danes know there isn't added pressure on them.

"All of the pressure's on them," said UAlbany coach Will Brown.

The Panthers have won 56 consecutive games at Petersen, against non-conference opponents, so it will certainly be a steep challenge.

"I'm excited," said junior guard Logan Aronhalt, the team's leading returning scorer.

The game can be seen on SNY.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is reporting that Pitt sophomore J.J. Moore will serve a one-game NCAA suspension for playing in a unauthorized summer league.

While Moore may be sidelined, the Panthers have a lot of other talented players.

"They're big," said UAlbany junior point guard Mike Black (below). "It's going to be a battle."

 

Brown knows his team will have to defend and rebound, if they have any chance of competing with a team that is traditionally strong on both of those fronts.

"You have to win with defense," he said. "You have to win with rebounding."

The Great Danes will have to deal with Big East preseason player of the year, Ashton Gibbs (right), who was Pitt's leading scorer last season.

UAlbany was selected to finish fourth in the America East preseason poll, but following a third place finish last season, the team believes they can compete for a league championship.

Be sure to check out my season preview for the Great Danes and also my advance on the Pitt game, at troyrecord.com.

Also follow me on twitter @andrewsantillo for updates all season, on the UAlbany basketball team.