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Pitt Basketball

Five Things to Know Before Pitt vs. Virginia Tech, Spread, Betting Line

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The Pitt Panthers are back on their home floor Saturday night hosting Virginia Tech. 

The Panthers find themselves in the midst of a two-game losing streak against Boston College and Wake Forest and have gone cold during the winter snowstorm.

Here are five things to know ahead of Pitt’s (8-14, 3-8 ACC) game against the Virginia Tech Hokies (12-7, 4-7).

Last Time Out

The Demon Deacons proved to be a tough test for the Panthers on Wednesday. Regarded as one of this season’s top teams in the ACC, Wake Forest displayed an offensive clinic shooting 55% and 15-for-29 from the three-point line. All five starters scored double-digit points led by 18 from Jake LaRavia. 

Pitt entered the night a whopping 12.5-point underdogs and went on to lose 91-75. John Hugley finished with a double-double recording 17 points and 12 rebounds as the Panthers totaled a 48% shooting mark. Capable of winning based off of tough and physical defense, the Panthers were outmatched against a dynamic and exploitive Demon Deacons team capable of outsourcing anyone. 

Femi Odukale was the high-scorer Wednesday at 23 points thanks to an efficient 10-for-14 night. Pitt held tight on most categories factoring to a victory in the second half but was down 46-24 creating a much too deep home to climb out of. The Panthers finished the matchup outscoring Wake Forest 51-45 in the second half leading into a winnable game against Virginia Tech.

Backing on the Bench 

Only one Panther saw more than 10 minutes of play off the bench in Wednesday’s loss. It’s no secret that Pitt lacks depth this season and plays the starters near the 30–35-minute range. Only Ithiel Horton, fresh off of suspension, played 18 minutes as the 6th man and only totaled for points on 1-of-5 shooting. 

It begins to beat the same drum requesting bench points but is tough to do when only one player has minutes to make a contribution. Daniel Oladapo did not play, and William Jeffress was the next closest in minutes to Horton playing seven. 

They might not be the most capable scorers against ACC competition but need increased confidence when called upon due to Mouhamadou Gueye and Hugley getting into foul trouble. Easier said than done, but bench production can be a major key in long, hard-fought games when the starters begin to feel fatigued.

Eyes on Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech is another explosive offensive team reliant on the three ball to win games. The Hokies enter the Petersen Events Center on a two-game winning streak, defeating Florida State and Georgia Tech. Saturday’s contest is the first of two games in three days with the teams meeting again on Monday in Blacksburg.

The Hokies make an impressive nine threes-per-game but are dynamite when shooting it. Virginia Tech is third-best in the entire country with a 41.2% team three-point percentage. They take good looks and smart shots playing a very efficient and effective game.

Virginia Tech totals a 47.4% overall mark, tied for 36th in college basketball, and a top 40 overall defensive rating. This team will be tough for Pitt to stop offensively similar to Wake Forest as the Hokies take care of the ball well too. Another potential bad matchup sparks V-Tech who sits at only 12th in the conference.

Keve Aluma leads the team with 15.6 points-per-game with three others (Cattoor, Mutts, and Alleyne) all hovering around 10.

Spread, Over/Under

Virginia Tech is favored by 6.5 points in Saturday morning’s latest odds.

Pitt is 11-11 against the spread this year and is wishing to cover for the fifth time as 6.5-point underdogs. 

The over/under for the game is set at 127 points and Pitt is +225 on the money line. 

Virginia Tech is also 11-11 ATS and has hit the over in half of their games during the 2021-22 campaign. 

Broadcast, Radio Info

The Virginia Tech and Pitt matchup will air on the ACC Network Saturday night at 7 p.m. Jay Alter and Malcolm Huckaby will call the game. 

The action can also be heard live on 93.7 The Fan. 

Pitt takes the floor against Virginia Tech for the rescheduled rematch of an earlier game on Monday beginning at 7 p.m. inside the Cassell Coliseum.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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