Duquesne Dukes at Pittsburgh Panthers
Saturday, 12/1/10, 9:15 PM EDT, TV: ESPNU
Opening Point Spread: Pittsburgh -10.5
Current Betting Line: Pittsburgh -11
Opening Total: 148.5
Current Total: 148.5
Duquesne is coming off back-to-back 30-plus point wins at Bowling Green and UMBC and now returns to action to face No. 3 Pitt in the first game at the new CONSOL Energy Center on Wednesday night. The Dukes have won three of their first four games, but all came against weak competition, which has coach Ron Everhart wondering about tonight’s matchup. “I like our energy level, but I don’t know if we’re playing with enough of a sense of urgency yet,” he stated. “We have a tough stretch coming up.” The team started a freshman backcourt the last two games in November and it will be tested in a big way against Big East competition. Duquesne is 1-5 ATS in its last six games and the NCAA basketball lines page has them as a double-digit underdog.
The Dukes will begin a stretch of playing five 2010 postseason teams in their next six games, as they averaged 21.7 wins last season. Duquesne’s strength is balanced scoring, with six players averaging at least 10 points a game, as the team has shot 50.2 percent from the floor early on. The sharp-shooting from the field hasn’t carried over to the free throw line, managing to shoot just 63.1 percent. An important statistic to pay attention to when handicapping this game is the Dukes’ ability to score 70 or more points. The program is 63-32 under Everhart when scoring 70 points or more and 4-30 when held under that mark.
Pitt enters its eighth game of the year with a perfect 7-0 record for the eighth time in the last nine seasons. The Panthers have already registered three quality RPI wins over Rhode Island, Maryland and Texas. “Pitt’s a team that really understands their roles,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes. “They do a lot of details. How many seniors they got? That has a lot to do with it.” Many Big East experts have stated this is the deepest team the program has had under coach Jamie Dixon’s direction. “It’s beneficial for the team to be this deep,” said Gilbert Brown. “It’s unique and special. We never want to take a play off.” The Panthers are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 neutral site games.
The Panthers enter tonight’s contest with a 47-31 all-time advantage in this rivalry and have won nine straight meetings. The two teams will meet on a neutral floor for the second consecutive season, as they played the final college basketball contest at Mellon Arena, a 67-58 Pitt win in double overtime. Dixon owns a 7-0 record versus the Dukes and a 91-6 mark against non-conference opponents overall.
Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Dukes are 1-6 ATS versus Big East opponents, while the Panthers are 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.
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