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The Pittsburgh Panthers (11-4 / 1-1 ACC) will be facing a difficult road test on Saturday, as they arrive to Raleigh, NC to claw with the #15 ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack (13-2 / 1-1 ACC) in a high-noon showdown.
ESPN will be courtside to broadcast the ACC battle at PNC Arena that brings in a Pitt squad that finally snapped their 23-game ACC losing streak last time on the floor at home against Louisville, 89 – 86. The stretch officially lasted 690 days over 3 seasons, with their last previous conference win coming against the Noles back in February ’17.
The Wolfpack will be looking to rebound from their loss to rivals North Carolina last time on the floor, as the #12 ranked Tarheels took a 90 – 82 win over N.C State this past Tuesday night. The loss snapped a 7-game win streak that had the Wolfpack with only 1 loss on the year to a Wisconsin program back on November 27.
The Streak Is Over, So On To The Future We Go!
Well, a 23-game ACC losing streak sure is nice to have behind them, but head coach Jeff Capel only needed 2 conference games to get his win in the books.
The first-year man at Pitt, of course, has a well-documented history of being an assistant at Duke, a playing career at Duke, and two high-profile gigs at VCU and Oklahoma. Leaving Duke was a tough decision, but I think we all knew it was time for him to land a job somewhere with the whistle around his neck, and Pitt was just the right place at the right time.
Capel obviously knew the team had an atrocious ACC record without a win to show after a 4 – 14 season for the Panthers the year before that contributed to the long-term run of conference losses. Former coach Kevin Stallings really never figured much out in his two years here, so on to the future we go!
— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) January 11, 2019
The future looks bright right now, and two freshman led the way to the recent win over Louisville. Trey McGowans set the Louisville freshman record with 33 points to go along with 6 dimes and 3 steals on the night. McGowans is the teams’ 2nd leading scorer, and his night brought his average up to 13.8 PPG.
Fellow freshman Xavier Johnson leads the Panthers in scoring putting up 16.5 PPG, and he found his way to a double-double against Louisville with a 21 & 10 performance.
Senior guard Jared Wilson-Frame is the third and final double-digit scorer for Pitt, as he has found his way to 11.4 PPG and 4.8 boards a night in his 2nd and final season in a Panther uni. Jared played 41 of the 45 overtime minutes against Louisville, and dipped his average a bit only finding 9 points on the night.
The Wolfpack Look To Regroup After A Tough ACC Loss To The Heels
The Wolfpack were certainly cruising into their last game against their biggest rivals in the land, but the Heels came away with the 8-point win to leave N.C State facing an 0 – 1 home ACC record entering tonight’s contest.
The Wolfpack had extended their win-streak to 7 games after opening ACC play with a win over Miami on January 3, and the win elevated N.C State to an impressive 13 – 1 record until the Heels added a L to the number on the right.
The Pack’s leading scorer Torin Dorn was limited to 12 points in the losing effort, which brought his average down to 14.3 PPG on the year. The senior guard went 5 for 12 from the floor, although he did find his way to his 2nd double-double of the campaign adding 10 boards to the night.
The rebounding effort from the Heels was certainly the difference in the outcome of the game, as North Carolina was the glass battle, 51 – 33. The Wolfpack watched the Hells go 10 for 25 from distance (40%), while they only managed an 8 for 28 (28.6%) shooting night from behind the arc themselves.
The Wolfpack bench certainly outdid the Heels subs, as N.C State had 43 points from the pine from only 3 players. Sophomore guard Brandon Beverly scored 21 points as a sub in the loss, although he does contribute 9.4 PPG and played 34 minutes against the Heels.
It’s hard to not be impressed with this Wolfpack offense this year, as the 7th ranked team in the nation is averaging 86.7 PPG, and ranks 5th overall in shooting percentage with a gaudy 51.3% from the floor. N.C State is making just under 40% of their 3-pointers as well, which has them ranked 13th in the country. Score, and then score, and then make sure you don’t bother to smell any roses on your way to scoring some more! I like it!
• Under is 41-14 in Panthers last 55 overall.
• Under is 37-14 in Panthers last 51 road games.
• Panthers are 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 games overall.
• Panthers are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
• Panthers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. Atlantic Coast.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am taking Pitt to easily cover these double-digits on the road, because I expect this to be a fantastic game with plenty of points to come as well.
I see this as an 85 – 80 game, with 160+ points coming to cash this total, while the Panthers keep it close all day to help us cash the ticket on the road doggie.
Pittsburgh +11.5 is your 4* Play on the Side.
Prediction: Pittsburgh +11.5
Full-Game Total Pick
You see all those under trends here?
Throw them out the window, because I could post about 15 more trends that point to the Under.
I give two shits about your trends, because it’s about what will be happening tonight, not what happened who knows when before.
These conditions call for a high-scoring game, and I expect one to transpire for us.
The Over 153.5 is your trend-bucking Play on the Total.
Prediction: Over 153.5