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Pitt C Federiko Federiko's Status for Mississippi State Game Unclear

Pitt Panthers head coach Jeff Capel said his starting center is a game-time decision.

DAYTON -- The Pitt Panthers are preparing to play their first NCAA Tournament game against one of the nation's best post players and they might have to do it without their own starting center. After Federiko Federiko tweaked his knee in the second round of the ACC Tournament and spent extended minutes on the bench in the quarterfinal loss to Duke, his status for the First Four against Mississippi State. 

Pitt head coach Jeff Capel said that Federiko will test his knee over the 24 hours leading up to tip-off and medical staff, coaches and Federiko himself will come to a decision by game time. As of right now, he has no definitive status. 

"He'll be a game-time decision if he'll play," Capel said. "He's still nursing that knee. He hurt it against Georgia Tech, tried to play against Duke the next day. We didn't like the way that he was moving, which is why we held him once we got down. So he'll be a game-time decision tomorrow."

Federiko did not practice fully with the team the day before their First Four matchup with the Bulldogs. He was in sweatpants and got some shots up but that was all. He said the knee is feeling better, but "we'll see" if he plays. 

Having Federiko, one of the best interior defenders in the ACC this past season, in the middle of the defense will be crucial for Pitt when they take the floor against 6'11 Tolu Smith, the physically imposing Bulldog center averaging 15.4 points and 8.3 rebounds on 58.3% shooting from the field. 

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