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Pitt notebook: Young practices in preparation for Colorado

| Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 6:15 p.m.

• Pitt freshman forward Michael Young practiced Tuesday in preparation for Thursday's 1:40 p.m. South Region second-round game against Colorado in Orlando, Fla., but he is still bothered by a back fracture, coach Jamie Dixon said. “He's struggling a little bit,” Dixon said before leaving for Florida. “Pulled out of practice a couple times today.” Young, who has started all 34 games this season, is expected to start against Colorado.

• Dixon said Pitt will split Wednesday's practice time in Florida. The Panthers will hold their first session at a practice facility. They will practice a second time for 40 minutes, starting at 12:45 p.m., at the tournament site at Amway Center.

• Following film study, the Panthers (25-9), a No. 9 seed, say they know what to expect against No. 8 Colorado (23-11). “We have a good understanding,” Dixon said. “More motion now, getting the ball inside, man-to-man defense.” The Panthers didn't watch tape of Colorado with junior point guard Spencer Dinwiddie in the lineup. He suffered a season-ending ACL tear Jan. 12 at Washington. Dixon said the Buffaloes offense became more inside-oriented after Dinwiddie's injury.

• Pitt is one of seven Division I programs to make 12 NCAA Tournament appearances in the past 13 seasons. “When you've been there as many times as we have, we know what we're going down to do,” Dixon said. “There's excitement, but this is a quiet group.”

• If a one-ton longhorn named Joel has his way, Pitt will upset Florida and advance to the Sweet 16. Joel went head-to-head Tuesday with college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, making bracket picks at a promotional event in Fort Worth, Texas. Joel's love for Pitt, however, ended with Florida. He picked Pitt to lose to Virginia Commonwealth in the Sweet 16 and had VCU winning the national title.

— John Harris

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