Gotham Classic NCAA Basketball Picks: Lean on Pitt to Cover ATS Against Eastern Wash.

Joe Catalano

Friday, December 11, 2015 4:58 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 11, 2015 4:58 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Panthers (6-1) host the Eastern Washington Eagles (5-4) in what's considered a fairly lopsided matchup in the Gotham Classic. Check our opinion with our NCAA basketball pick.

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College Football Pick: Pittsburgh -18 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST tonight at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsbburgh, Pennsylvania. At 5Dimes, the Panthers are a hefty 18 point betting favorite on the ncaa basketball odds and the total for the game is listed at 152.5.

 

Smooth Sailing
Except for their loss to Purdue, Pittsburgh has been a very high scoring basketball team. They've scored 84 points or more in 6 out of their 7 games and have reached 90 points in 4 out of 7, beating their last 2 opponents by a total of 196 -122. Eastern Washington is a bit tougher than their last 2 opponents, but Pitt hasn't gotten to the meat of their schedule where they'll be tested.

We have to remember that these statistics are somewhat fabricated as the opponents that the Panthers have faced have been very weak, but nonetheless, this is a very deep team that's been rebounding the ball well, dishing out assists (22 per game), hitting their outside shots (41.7% from 3 point range) and a 50% shooting team overall. What I really like about Pittsburgh is that they're an excellent shooting free throw team. As they meet tougher opponents in tight games, this will surely be a factor in Pitt's favor.

 

Michael Young and James Artis
These are the go to guys on the Panthers squad as it's only taken them 25 minutes per game apiece to combine for a collective 30.9 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists while both shooting well over 50% from the field (Young at 61.4% and Artis at 55.9% from 2-point range and 52.4% from 3-point range) and both players also shooting above 70% from the charity stripe.

While Artis is the obvious 3 point specialist, Young is the star of the team as this is a big man that can distribute the basketball as well as rebound and score. For the season, Michael Young is averaging 16.6 points, 9 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game and other than shooting the 3-ball, there are no weaknesses to his game.The measure of a good player is how well they play against the top teams in the nation and Young was very solid with 16 points and 12 rebounds in limited action against Purdue.

 

Pittsburgh Offense Running On All Cylinders
This is a team that makes frequent substitutions and this can be very tiring to opposing teams with less depth. That said, look for a big game out of Michael Young with help from point guard, James Robinson, getting other players involved and contributing offensively himself as he's a proficient 3-point specialist.

This Pittsburgh team has no real weakensses on the offensive end. It just comes down to will they play at such a high level when the schedule get's tough? Currently, we don't have to be concerned with the AP top 25 as the Panthers are playing a far inferior team in the Eagles in the Gotham Classic.

 

No Boards, No Depth, No Win, No Cover
With all of the praise that I have given to the Panthers, I have left out the fact that Eastern Washington can put the rock in the hole. They're averaging 84 points per game with 4 players averaging 13.8 points per game or more, led by 5 foot 9 senior guard, Austin McBroom.

What I don't like about this matchup for the Eagles is that their starters play a massive amount of minutes and although they have produced offensively, a deep Pittsburgh bench will help the Panthers in the end. Eastern Washington is also only averaging just 32 rebounds per game. This is a team that can compete with most of the weaker teams in the nation, but Pittsburgh is at a different level add them as the ncaa basketball pick tonight.

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