College Basketball on Wednesday night and we will see the top ranked Syracuse Orange travel to Petersen Events Center to take on the 23rd-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers. The game has a start time of 7:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ESPN. Vegas odds have the Panthers listed as 1 point favorites, while the total sits at 125.
Analysis: The Syracuse come in as the top ranked team in the nation and are just one of two teams that are still unbeaten. This may be a tough spot for the Cuse as they have won just 3 of their last 9 SU in this series and they are just 5-15-1 ATS the last 21 meetings between these teams. Syracuse comes in averaging a modest 71.1 ppg on the year, but they do shoot the ball well, hitting 46% of their shots. CJ Fair leads the offense with 16.8 ppg, while Trevor Cooney (14 ppg), Jerami Grant (12.8 ppg) and Tyler Ennis average in double digits for the Cuse as well. Offense, though, isn't the forte of this team, as they have one of the best defenses in the nation. Syracuse have allowed just 58.4 ppg, which is 7th in the nation.
The Panthers come in at 20-4 overall and 8-3 within the ACC. Pitt has also been very strong at home, going 132-2 this year. On offense, the Panthers have scored a modest 73.3 ppg, but have struggled of late, scoring just 62.8 ppg in their last 5 games and that includes two OT games. Lamar Patterson leads this offense with a solid 17.6 ppg, while Talib Zanna (12.5 ppg) and Cameron Wright (11.0 ppg) also average in double figures for the Panthers. Zanna is an all around solid player for the Panthers, hitting 58.5% of his shots, while leading the team in rebounding (7.6 rpg) as well. Still, offense is not where the Panthers have made their living the year. The Panthers come in ranked 12thin the nation in points allowed (60.1 ppg) and 40th in defensive FG% (40.0 %). This is a very solid defensive squad.
Pick: With these two defensive minded teams is their any way to go but Under? I think not. Pit has really struggled on offense of late as they have scored just 51 ppg (regulation) in their last 4 games. Now they face one of the best defenses in the nation in the Orange, who have allowed just 58.4 ppg on 40.6% shooting this year. Now let's take out the 91-89 OT game vs Duke and we see that the Cuse have allowed just 51 ppg in 9 of their last 10 games. Now that is playing some defense. Pitt knows how to play defense as well as they have allowed just 60.1 ppg overall and 58.9 ppg at home. The Cuse are just average on offense and have put up just 62 ppg in 7 of their last 8 games (took out the OT game vs Duke). Last year both teams were in the Big East and played two games that put up just 121 and 120 points and that has carried over to the first meeting between the teams this year, in which just 113 points were scored. I see nothing that makes me think that this game can put up more than that here. Both defenses are very good and both teams play a slow brand of offense, which has lead to low scoring out puts for both of late. This one should finish around 115 at best.
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