NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
Big East Tournament action kicks up a notch on Wednesday. In the second game of the day at Madison Square Garden it will be the disappointing Pittsburgh Panthers against the 14th ranked Georgetown Hoyas. Pittsburgh was expected to be fighting for a Big East crown, but they finished 5-11 in the conference. They are a dangerous team, and Georgetown will need to show up ready to play in this one.
Jamie Dixon’s team played one of its best games of the year yesterday in their 73-59 win over St. John’s. Pittsburgh’s defense has been terrible all season, but they held the Red Storm to just 33% from the floor yesterday. Seven Panthers scored at least six points in the win. Clearly, this is a team that could knock off some good teams in the Big East tournament if they can put it all together.
Ashton Gibbs and Tray Woodall have been the Panthers leading scorers all year, but neither of them are shooting it well from the floor. Nasir Robinson is the team’s main scorer down low. Robinson had 15 points and eight rebounds in yesterday’s win over St. John’s. The strength of this Pittsburgh team is their ability to crash the boards. If they are going to win this game, they will need to dominate the glass against Georgetown.
Georgetown lost a ton of talent after last season, but they are a better team this year. The team took a summer trip to China, and it seemed to really help team chemistry. Jason Clark is the senior leader for this squad. He leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game. Clark shoots 48% from the floor. Hollis Thompson is a sharp shooter from the outside for the Hoyas. Thompson shoots 46% from three-point range. Henry Sims has been the breakout player of the year for Georgetown. Last year he averaged just 3.6 points, but this year he averages 11.1 points per game. Interestingly, Sims is also the team’s leader in assists despite being a 6’10 center.
Defensively, Georgetown is very good. John Thompson III is a defensive-minded coach, and this squad plays great half court defense. Opponents shoot just 38.8% from the floor against Georgetown. Georgetown allows opponents to hit just 27.8% of their three-point attempts. The Hoyas give up just 59 points per game.
This game will likely be won on the defensive end of the floor. Georgetown has been consistent all year long, and I think they’ll end up winning a close one here.
Prediction: Georgetown 65 Pittsburgh 61
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