Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon knows tough, physical basketball. He coaches one of the toughest teams in the Big East, a conference known for its disregard for finesse and foul troubles.
Even if he's sandbagging, it's a nice compliment for Wichita State when he praises their willingness to swap paint in the paint. The teams play on Monday in Kansas City as part of the CBE Classic. Iowa meets No. 3 Texas in the second game of the night. The winners and losers meet Tuesday at the Sprint Center.
"They really beat up Fairleigh Dickinson, that was very evident," Dixon said Friday during a conference call with the four coaches. "This team is very physical and we're going to get a quick look at that."
WSU coach Gregg Marshall sends the compliments right back. The Panthers tied Michigan State for the NCAA lead in rebound margin at plus-9.3 in 2009.
"Big, athletic, very solid in their approach," Marshall said. "They really rebound well."
WSU (2-0) cruised to wins over Fairleigh Dickinson and Arkansas-Monticello. The physical edge enjoyed by the Shockers is over starting Monday.
"We've got two good wins, but this is a whole different ballgame," Marshall said. "They're going to be bigger, stronger, more athletic. We won't be able to overwhelm them."
The CBE Classic brings together four teams in different places, ranging from a national contender in No. 3 Texas to struggling Iowa. Pitt and WSU fall in between. The Panthers are reloading after an Elite Eight appearance. The Shockers appear to be an improving team.
"I'm well aware of the competition in Kansas City," Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said.
Pitt (3-0) defeated Wofford 63-60 in its opener. The Panthers had few problems with Binghamton (71-46) or Eastern Kentucky (71-60). Wofford rebounded evenly with the Panthers. Pitt out-rebounded a smaller Binghamton team by six. Things played out closer to Dixon's standards when the Panthers beat Eastern Kentucky 47-25 on the boards.
"Our guards weren't rebounding as well as the could have," he said. "We're never satisfied with our rebounding."
Notes — WSU freshman Demetric Williams did some light practicing on Friday. He missed Wednesday's game with a sprained left ankle. The Shockers will be without guard Clevin Hannah, suspended by the NCAA, for Monday's game. He will return on Tuesday.