NCAA Betting Preview
No. 13 Marquette Golden Eagles (23-6) at No. 3 Pittsburgh Panthers (26-3)
Wednesday, 7:30 PM Eastern
Bookmaker.com betting line – Pittsburgh – 11
The Big East seems to have big game after another and that will be the case again this Wednesday night when no. 3 Pittsburgh host no. 13 Marquette in a battle of conference front runners. The Pittsburgh Panthers are staring at a brutal two game stretch to close out the season. The Panthers not only have to contend with the talented Golden Eagles this Wednesday, but they will turn around and square off with top ranked Connecticut this Saturday. The Golden Eagles have suffered from a brutal two game stretch as they have dropped two straight losses for the first time this season. However, Marquette has come up strong in big games on multiple occasions this season and they will seek a big victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
The Marquette Golden Eagles rank 2nd in the Big East in terms of scoring offense averaging slightly less than 80 points per game this season. However, Marquette’s fast pace offense has also given up some high point totals this season as well. The Golden Eagles will have to hold off a dangerous scoring offense from Pittsburgh this Wednesday night in a tough road game. The Golden Eagles stellar point’s guards have led the team this season. Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews are both averaging right at 20 points per game this season. However, Lazar Hayward had the biggest night for the Golden Eagles in their close loss to Louisville. Hayward posted a double-double night with 16 points and 10 boards. In that loss, Marquette was held to one of their poorest shooting performances of the season where they only managed to fill the cylinder on 33% of their shots. The Golden Eagles will seek a better all around performance in their quest to upset the number 3 team in the land on Wednesday.
The Pittsburgh Panthers have an opportunity to really close out the season strong if they could put together back to back big conference victories. Pittsburgh Panthers leading scorer Sam Young had one of the strongest showings of the season for Pittsburgh in their victory over Seton Hall this Saturday. The senior forward knocked down 29 points in the Panthers 89-78 win over Seton Hall. DeJuan Blair has been a big asset for the Panthers this season. The sophomore’s emergence has been a contributing factor to the Panthers success this season. Blair’s 12.7 rebounds this season ranks 3rd in the NCAA. Pittsburgh offense has been lights out from the floor this season knocking down right at 49% of their shots as a team. Despite the Panthers high scoring offense, they have held opponents to a low 63 points per game this season. Pittsburgh’s defense rather than their offense will get a big challenge to slow down a talented Marquette basketball team.
What to watch for…
Pittsburgh and Marquette split their two games last season with the Panthers getting the biggest win in the conference tournament. The losing team in both scenarios’s shot only 36% in those games. This year both teams shoot the ball very well and it will likely come down to who is hot and who is not. Pittsburgh has the edge on the inside while Marquette holds the advantage from the perimeter. However, Blair’s presence on the inside could be the difference as he could open the entire floor up for Pittsburgh if he can become effective.
Pick – Panthers may pull out the win, but not by 11. Take Marquette +11