Pittsburgh Panthers (22-11) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (21-12)
Game Info: Tuesday, March 14, 2022 at 9:10 p.m. EST (UD Arena)
Betting Odds: Mississippi State (-1.5) / Over/Under (132.5)
Pick: Pittsburgh (+1.5)
March Madness has finally dawned upon us. With the First Four games starting to heat up, let’s head to the Midwest to check out a clash between the Pittsburgh Panthers and Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The Panthers were able to squeak into this one with a key win over the George Tech Yellow Jackets in the first round of the ACC Tournament. Although Duke put a beating on them in the following game, a win in the first round was all they needed to nod their way into the field. Over their last 4 games, they have struggled mightily, going 1-3 SU (2-2 ATS). Despite that, all you ever need is one chance, and that chance starts now. The Panthers will rely heavily on their star duo of Jamarius Burton and Blake Hinson to lead them into the final 64. Burton and Hinson have averaged an identical 15.6 PTS each on the year, and have contributed heavily on the boards as well, securing 11 REB per game combined. If they want a chance at punching their ticket to the next round, they will need to show up big time for the Panthers come Tuesday night's tipoff.
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Mississippi State head into the UD Arena having looked mediocre over their last two weeks of basketball. In their last 4 games, they are 2-2 SU (0-4 ATS) and have not been able to impose their will in any of those games. Unlike the Panthers who have two stars that can take over any game on any given night, the Bulldogs only have one man averaging over 10 points per game, and that is senior forward, Tolu Smith. He is an absolute force to deal with on both ends of the floor. If the Panthers are not keeping an eye on him early, he can take over the game as quickly as ever. Coming off of a disappointing season last year in which the Bulldogs followed the season by letting go of long-term Head Coach, Ben Howland, first-year Head Coach Chris Jans has stepped in and made it his own. Having punched their ticket into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2018-2019 season, the Bulldogs will look to continue their promising campaign with a win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Pittsburgh is 22-10-1 ATS on the year
- The Panthers are 10-2 ATS when playing away from home
- Mississippi State is 1-4-1 ATS when playing at a neutral site
This line suggests that this game should be a close encounter, and I completely agree with that assessment. In saying that though, the Bulldogs have looked uninspiring over the last 2 weeks. It is incredibly hard to just turn on the switch when the lights are bright if you have not been playing your best over the last few games. On the other hand, although Pittsburgh has not blown the doors off of anyone, they played Miami on the road tough and have shown glimpses of brilliance in the past few games that they have played. Furthermore, I love the fact that they have two guys that can carry the load for large parts of the game. Give me the Panthers to eke their way into the final 64.
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