North Carolina Asheville AT Pittsburgh
Mar 17, 2011 at 3:10 PM EST
Opening Line: Pitt -17.5
Current Line: Pitt -18
Opening Total: 134
Current Total: 134
Opening Moneyline: Pitt -3000 / NC A +2250
Current Moneyline: Pitt -7500 / NC A +1800
This matchup features a conference winner in NC Asheville and the #4 Team in the AP Top 25 in Pittsburgh. NC Asheville closed on the season on fire, winning their final 7 games, though most of it was the conference tournament and conference opponents, all of whom are very weak.
NC Asheville will have a rude awakening when they play a ranked team for the first time since their 96-49 drubbing against Ohio State on December 21st. Against ranked opponents, NC Asheville lost all 3 by an average of 24.3 points. Due largely in part to their weak schedule, the 20-13 Bulldogs have a +5.9 win differential. They average 74.4 points a game while giving up 68.5.
Pittsburgh ended up losing last game to then #19 Connecticut. They took care of business against #19 Villanova, winning 60-50. They have held 7 of their last 8 opponents under 60 points and their average output of their opponents was +13.1, holding opponents to just over 60 points a game (61) and scoring 74.1 themselves.
Some betting trends:
Pittsburgh is 17-4 SU in their last 21 games and the total has gone UNDER in 7 of Pittsburgh’s last 8 games.
NC Ashevile’s Overall Scoring, 74.9
Pittsburgh Overall Defense, 60.7
NC Asheville’s Home Scoring 72.5
Pittsburgh’s Home Defense 60.7
Pittsburgh’s Overall Scoring 74.0
UNC Asheville’s Overall Defense 68.45
Pittsburgh Home Scoring 76.14
Asheville’s Road Defense, 71.8
PIttsburgh Home Rebounds 40.0
Asheville’s Road Rebounds 38.29
Pittsburgh is led by 6’2″ junior Ashton Gibbs. Gibbs averages 16.7 points per game, 2.8 assists per game, and shoots a blistering 48% from three (95 of 198). Gibbs should be a big reason Pittsburgh blows out NC Asheville. Gibbs has hit 4 threes or more in 8 Pittsburgh games and Pittsburgh is 8-0 in those games. In the 9 games in which Gibbs scored 20 or more, Pittsburgh won all 9. The only other player to play over 30 minutes a night is 6’4″ senior guard Brad Wanamaker. Wanamaker leads the team in rebounding with 5.3 a game and he is second in scoring with 12 points per game. He also leads the team in assists with 5.1 a game. He recorded two double doubles this year against Rider and Louisville, but Pittsburgh lost the matchup to Louisville by 3 points.
NC Asheville is led by the duo of Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm. The duo combine to score 30.1 points per game, which accounts for approximately 40% of NC Asheville’s total scoring. Dickey, a 6’1″ junior point guard, leads the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game, and he also manages 3.3 assists per game and 3.7 boards per game. He is shooting 38% from three (63 of 166) and 43.3% from the field. He failed to score in double figures in only 5 games, and of those 5 games, NC Asheville lost 4 of them. His backcourt mate J.R. Primm is also 6’1″ and also a junior. He puts up 14.6 points per game and a team leading 4.6 assists per game while shooting 35% from three (55 of 157). Gibbs will slow down one of these guards and Wanamaker will match up against the other.
This matchup is going to be primarly decided by the play of the teams’ respective back courts, though the #1 seed – as always – is a huge favorite against any #16 seed.