Pitt vs. Virginia Odds & Picks: Betting Guide To This ACC College Basketball Showdown
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: Tony Bennett
Pitt vs. Virginia Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
We get an early-season ACC contest on Friday as the Pitt Panthers make the trek south to take on the Virginia Cavaliers.
As a perennial contender in the conference, the Cavaliers entered this season in the Top 25. They were swiftly upset by Navy and have since lost twice more to the likes of Iowa and Houston.
Tony Bennett and his squad have maintained the reputation of a well-coached team that is going to force opponents to play at a slow pace.
The Panthers stumble into this contest having lost their last three games. Each loss has told the same story of the Pitt team and its revolving issues.
In their last loss, the Panthers showed signs of life as they battled against an undefeated Minnesota team. Was that effort a sign of things to come?
Panthers Struggling From The Field
A 2-5 start is not what head coach Jeff Capel III envisioned.
The Panthers’ slow start has come because of cold shooting, and they’re 296th in adjusted offensive efficiency while averaging only just 61 points per game.
The shooting numbers are not much prettier — 246th in effective field goal percentage, 177th in 2-point percentage and, most shockingly, 334th in 3-point percentage.
Another area that has plagued the Panthers is the turnover department. They are 323rd in turnover rate and 331st in defensive turnover rate. Not only are they not taking care of the ball when they have possession, but they are also not creating any extra possessions.
Even though Pitt does have a myriad of issues on the offensive end, the offense has to come from somewhere.
The large majority has been produced by sophomore forward John Hugley. Hugley is having a solid campaign so far, averaging nearly 16 points and more than eight rebounds per game. He will enter this contest off back-to-back 20+ point performances.
Hugley and his teammates are in for one of the tougher assignments offensively that they will face all season.
The Cavaliers are built off their defense and rank inside the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency and effective field goal percent, as well as 2- and 3-point field goal percentage.
They have also held opponents to an average of just 56 points per game. This matchup may be a worst-case scenario for a struggling Panthers offense.
New Year, Same Cavaliers
By now, we all are familiar with Virginia and its style of play under Bennett. The Cavaliers are built to slow the game down to a crawl so their defense can thrive and the half-court offense can execute effectively.
Through eight games this season, only one-half of that scheme has produced consistently.
Virginia is one of the better defensive teams in the country and that will always travel well. What has led to the Cavs’ three early-season losses is the lack of consistent offense. They are 117th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 183rd in effective field goal percentage.
The ups and downs of the offense may be because, like the Panthers, they primarily run their offense through one man.
That man is senior forward Jayden Gardner. Gardner’s numbers are eerily similar to his counterpart in this matchup, Hugley. Gardner is the team leader in both scoring and rebounds, averaging 14 points and more than eight boards per game.
The Cavaliers should be able to play their game effectively in this one, as they’ll hold a decent advantage over the Panthers on that end of the floor. Pitt is in the middle of the pack in adjusted defensive efficiency and field goal percentage allowed.
What will be fun to watch is the duel between Gardner and Hugley, as the two big men match up extremely well.
Pitt vs. Virginia Betting Pick
This matchup plays right into the hands of Virginia — paint may dry faster than the pace of this game.
The Cavaliers rank 358th in tempo and the Panthers are not far ahead at 315th. We should see the Cavaliers thrive in this matchup and be in complete control on both ends of the court.
The spread will be in play for me, as Virginia could open up a sizeable gap with Pitt being shut down offensively.
Pick: Virginia -14.5
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