College Basketball Pick: Georgetown vs. Pittsburgh
NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
Georgetown came into the season with lower than normal expectations. At this point the Hoyas are far exceeding those lowered expectations. Pittsburgh was still expected to be one of the best teams in the Big East, but the Panthers have struggled mightily this year. The Panthers just snapped an eight-game losing streak, and now they are looking to start a winning streak by upsetting the tenth ranked Hoyas. Let’s take a closer look at this Big East battle.
Georgetown lost a lot of talent off last year’s team, but this is a very tight knit team. The Hoyas took a trip overseas in the summer and Coach John Thompson III credits that trip as a big chemistry booster for the Hoyas. Jason Clark is a senior leader for this squad. Clark leads the team by averaging 15.9 points per contest. Clark is shooting 50.2% from the floor this season. Hollis Thompson only averaged 8.6 points per game last year, but he has upped that to 14.0 per contest this season. Thompson is knocking down an amazing 50.6% of his shots from beyond the arc.
The biggest strength of this Georgetown team has been its defense. The Hoyas are giving up just 59.4 points per game. The team allows opponents to shoot just 29% from beyond the arc and 39% overall from the field. Henry Sims and Otto Porter help the Hoyas outrebound their opponents on a consistent basis, but that will be tested by Pittsburgh’s strong frontcourt.
Pittsburgh has been beaten at home this year by the likes of Wagner and Long Beach State. This is a Panthers team that isn’t accustomed to losing much at all, but this season hasn’t gone at all as they planned. Ashton Gibbs is the Panthers leading scorer at 16.7 points per game, but he is shooting just 38.8% from the floor. Tray Woodall missed several games with an injury, but he came back in the Panthers win over Providence last time out and put up 17 points. This team really needs him to be a second scoring option and take some pressure off Gibbs. Nasir Robinson is the team’s leading rebounder and scorer in the paint.
The biggest problem with this year’s Pittsburgh team has been their inability to get stops on the defensive end. Jamie Dixon’s team are typically very good on this end of the floor, but this squad has struggled all year. Opponents are knocking down 44.3% of their field goal attempts. The Panthers are allowing 67 points per game. If Pittsburgh doesn’t improve on the defensive end, it is tough to see them turning their season around.
Georgetown is the more disciplined team here, and they shoot it much better. Both teams can rebound, but the Hoyas play much better defense. Look for the Hoyas to get a win in a very close hard fought game.
Prediction: Georgetown 74 Pittsburgh 70
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