Big East Basketball Preview: Pittsburgh Panthers at #19 Georgetown Hoyas

Pittsburgh Panthers At #19 Georgetown Hoyas
Tuesday, January 8, 2013, 9:00 pm Eastern, ESPNU
Verizon Center – Washington, D.C.
Opening Line: Pittsburgh -1
Current Line: Georgetown -1 1 /2
Opening Total: 115
Current Total: 115 1/2
Opening Money Line: Pitt-120 / Georgetown +100
Current Money Line: Georgetown -125 / Pitt +105

Georgetown is a slight home favorite against Pittsburgh Tuesday night. Both teams are winless in the Big East.

After strong starts in non-conference play the 12-3 Pittsburgh Panthers and #19 10-2 Georgetown Hoyas are both winless early in the Big East conference schedule. The two teams meet Tuesday in Washington, desperate for a win. This is the 77th meeting between the schools. Georgetown leads the series 41-35, but Pitt has won 5 of the last 7. The two teams split the two meetings last year. Pitt won at home in the regular season, but Georgetown returned the favor in the Big East Tournament. Both teams will leave the Big East in the near future. Pittsburgh joins the ACC next season, and Georgetown will join the so called “Catholic 7” schools in the Big East to form their own as yet unnamed conference.

Pitt started off the season 12-1 under coach Jamie Dixon. The only loss came to currently undefeated Michigan in the pre-season NIT semifinals in New York City. The Panthers had won 8 games in a row after that loss heading into Big East play. However, Pitt is 0-2 in conference so far with losses at home to Cincinnati 70-61 and at Rutgers Saturday 67-62. Pitt has racked up all of their wins over inferior teams with the best being Fordham, Lehigh, Oakland, Delaware, Detroit and Duquesne. The Panthers are 3-5 ATS and the total is 4-0 this season.

Georgetown started off the season 10-1 under coach John Thompson III. The only came to Indiana in overtime in a tournament in Brooklyn. The Hoyas won 7 straight games after that but lost at Marquette Saturday 49-48 in the Big East opener for Georgetown. The Hoyas have wins over Duquesne, UCLA, Tennessee, and Texas. Georgetown had a game against Florida canceled because of bad weather that was supposed to be on an aircraft carrier. Georgetown is 3-5 ATS and the total is 2-4 this season.

Pitt is outscoring teams 74-54 this season. The Panthers are #5 in points allowed. Pittsburgh is shooting 50.4% and 33.8% from 3 point range. The Panthers are #10 in field goal percentage nationally. Pittsburgh makes 68.3% from the free throw line. The Panthers average 34.9 rebounds per game, and are first nationally in rebounds allowed with 23.1 per game. Pitt opponents are shooting 39.6% from the field and 32% from 3 point range. The Panthers average 19 assists, 7 steals, 4 blocks and 9 turnovers per game.

Forward Talib Zanna averages 13.1 points and 5.9 rebounds. Guard Tray Woodall  averages 11.5 points, 2 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Forward J.J. Moore averages 9.9 points and 4.3 rebounds. Lamar Patterson averages 9.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Guard James Robinson averages 7 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. Center Stephen Adams averages 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Cameron Wright, Dante Taylor, Trey Zeigler, and Durand Johnson will also get some minutes.

Georgetown is outscoring teams 65-54 this season. The Hoyas are #7 in points allowed. The Hoyas are shooting 45.8% from the field including 33.2% from 3 point range. Georgetown makes 64.8% of their free throws. The Hoyas are averaging 33.1 rebounds per game and give up 28.9 per game. Georgetown opponents are shooting 37.5% from the field and 32.4% from 3 point range. The Hoyas are #20 in opponents’ field goal percentage. Georgetown averages 15 assists, 9 steals, 5 blocks, and 12 turnovers per game.

Forward Otto Porter, Jr. averages 13.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Forward Greg Whittington averages 12.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Guard Markel Starks averages 11.7 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Forward Mikael Hopkins averages 8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1 block per game. Forward Nate Lubick averages 6.8 points, 5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and a steal. Jabril Trawick and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Center Tyler Adams is ineligible for the season.

Pitt is 5-2 ATS after a straight up loss, 3-7 against teams with a winning percentage of .600 or better, 3-8 overall, 2-7 in Tuesday games, 1-4 in road games, against teams with winning records, and in Big East games,  1-6 against teams with winning records. The Panthers are 5-2 ATS  in the last 7 against the Hoyas, and 7-3 at Georgetown.The underdog is 5-2 ATS in this series recently.

Georgetown is 5-1 ATS after a straight up loss, 5-2 after allowing less than 50 points, 7-3 in Tuesday games, 1-4 at home and after scoring 50 points or less, and 0-5 after a cover. The under is 6-1-1 in the last 8 in this series in Washington.

Both of these teams are in the top 10 nationally in points allowed as they give up 54 points a game. Pitt has played a paper thin schedule apart from Michigan and the conference foes. Georgetwon has had a much tougher schedule. I like the Hoyas at home to win a close low scoring game.

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