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NCAAB Tournament Odds, Picks for Pitt vs. Mississippi State

NCAAB Tournament Odds, Picks for Pitt vs. Mississippi State article feature image
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Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Jans (Mississippi State)

Pitt vs. Mississippi State Odds

Tuesday, March 14
9:10 p.m. ET
truTV
Pitt Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+2.5
-110
133
-110o / -110u
+120
Mississippi State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-2.5
-110
133
-110o / -110u
-140
Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The encore of the Tuesday night First Four showdown features two coaches going through breakthrough seasons.

It didn’t take long for Chris Jans to lift Mississippi State to the dance. The first-year head honcho came out guns blazin’ to start the year. MSU raced out to an 11-0 record, but a sharp correction led to a dismal 1-8 performance immediately following.

Relative to that head-snapping volatility, the “true” caliber of this Mississippi State squad lies somewhere in the middle.

On the other side, Pitt‘s 14-6 conference record looks enticing, but the ACC is nowhere near the league it once was. The Panthers had the conference’s regular-season title in their crosshairs, but stumbled in high-leverage moments down the stretch.


Pitt Panthers

To get back on track, Pitt’s defense needs to whip into form in a hurry. The Panthers were torched by Duke in the ACC Tournament, a continuation of a damning defensive demise.

Consider the Panthers’ defensive efficiency performance the last five outings: 1.48 (Duke), 1.16 (Georgia Tech), 1.13 (Miami), 1.24 (Notre Dame) and 1.24 (Syracuse).

Granted, Mississippi State’s porous shooting will certainly make Pitt look better, but surrendering 1.16 points to a depleted Georgia Tech roster is alarming.

Since Pitt reinvented itself in the wake of John Hugley IV’s absence, the offense is cruising. It’s the other end of the floor that needs to live up to its end of the bargain.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State is a symmetrical 16-16 against the spread this year, depending on your preferred closing line.

Backing the Bulldogs may be a wise investment in a postseason tournament with Jans in your corner, but it may not be a fun wager to witness.

This may be the worst shooting team in the field, entering the bracket with a nation’s worst 3-point field goal percentage (26.6%), while ranking in the bottom-15 nationally in free-throw percentage (64.7%).

If this game is closely contested wire-to-wire, MSU is not the horse to back in a free-throw shooting contest down the stretch.

That said, MSU is 3-1 in overtime games this season and 3-3 in all other games decided by three points or fewer. Thus, the shooting woes are worth addressing, but such splits are typically baked into the line already.

If anything, there’s strong regression pointing in the Bulldogs’ favor, as highlighted by ShotQuality’s team profile.

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Pitt vs. Mississippi State Betting Pick

For Pitt, losing three of four games entering the dance is not advised. However, a 27-point thrashing against Duke in the ACC Tournament could re-ignite the ember that burned so bright for the Panthers in November, December and January.

The historical evidence certainly points that way; per BetLabs, teams that lost by more than 20 points in their prior game entering the NCAA tournament are 21-12 against the number dating back to 2007 (a similar angle holds for NC State against Creighton).

This alone, however, does not warrant a blind bet on Pitt, especially against a coach as shrewd as Jans on the other sidelines.

The better value play here is on the total. The strong shooting regression angles for Mississippi State offer a modicum of value on the over, as does the interior matchup on both sides.

Pitt’s bigs can stretch Mississippi State away from the rim, while the Bulldogs can do their dirty work around the glass.

In short, an efficiency-driven over is the play here, but don’t chase anything higher than 133.

Pick: Over 132.5 (Play to 133)

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