Ahead of Pitt’s Tuesday night matchup against No. 11 Virginia (10-2, 2-1 ACC) at the Petersen Events Center, here are five storylines to watch out for entering the big-time ACC contest.
PANTHERS ARE HOT
Pitt enters Tuesday night’s matchup having won its last four games as well as nine of its last ten games this season.
After winning each of its first three road games on the year, the Panthers are off to their best start in years and are looking to continue the streak against Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers. Per game notes, Pitt’s 9-1 record is the program’s best ten-game stretch since 2015-16, when the team won ten straight.
Pitt has looked to Jamarius Burton and Blake Hinson for most of its scoring this season, but Nelly Cummings (11.1 PPG) and Greg Elliott (10.8) have both made huge impacts on the offensive end as well. As a team, Pitt enters tonight’s game shooting
BURTON, TEAM EARN NATIONAL RECOGNITION
Pitt’s Jamarius Burton has had a tremendous season for the Panthers so far, headlined by his recent 31-point outburst to lead the team over No. 25 North Carolina last week.
Burton hit 14 of his 17 field-goal attempts en route to the victory, earning ACC Co-Player of the Week honors and also March Madness National Player of the Week honors. The graduate senior is now averaging 21.3 points, five rebounds, and four assists per game in ACC play.
National ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg also included Burton on his National Players of the Week list.
March Madness and NCAA national reporter Andy Katz included the Panthers in his “Power 36” rankings this week at No. 27. Virginia sits at No. 15 in those same rankings.
Virginia brings back all five starters from last year’s squad which beat Pitt twice: once by one point on a Jayden Gardner game winner, and once by five points at the Petersen Events Center.
The Cavaliers have fifth-year guard Kihei Clark leading the way, proving stability, smarts, and more in the back court. Clark will pick your pocket, he’ll drop a dime through the defense, or he will hit the big shot. Jayden Gardner, Virginia’s star forward, stands at a stout 6-foot-6, 230+ pounds. Gardner is an efficient scorer who will kill you in a number of ways from the mid-range to the paint with his soft touch and creativity. Guards Reece Beekman and Armaan Franklin can certainly score as well, as Beekman posted 19 points in the Cavaliers win over Pitt last season. Off the bench, look out for freshman stud Isaac McKneely to come in and look for the three-ball.
The Cavaliers also claim the best scoring defense in the ACC, giving up just 58.3 points per game this year.
Pitt has lost its last eight games to Virginia. Will the streak snap tonight? For the complete breakdown of the Cavaliers, check out PSN’s Virginia scout here.
BETTING INFO (SPREAD, O/U)
Virginia is a 6.5-point favorite leading into Tuesday night’s game, per BetOnline.ag.
VIRGINIA ODDS – Virginia (-6.5). Virginia ML -255
PITT ODDS: Pitt (+6.5). Pitt ML +215
Pitt has been remarkable against Las Vegas this season, covering the spread in each of its last nine games.
The over-under is currently hovering around 127 points.
TV, BROADCAST INFO
The game will tip off at 9 p.m. on ACC Network from the Petersen Events Center, with Jay Alter an Debbie Antonelli on the call.
The game will also be broadcast live on 93.7 The Fan.