NCAA Basketball Picks: Pittsburgh vs. Louisville to Go 'Over' in Tonight's ACC Showdown

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 2:18 PM GMT

Louisville shot the lights out against Pittsburgh in its first go around, which will lead to the ‘Over’ cashing for a second time to close out the regular season series.

Getting Offensive
In earning a 80-68 victory over Pittsburgh as six-point road favorites on the NCAA Basketball odds, Louisville shot a remarkable 65.2 percent from the field—the highest such mark during the Rick Pitino era.

The Cardinals have struggled at times on the offensive end, but should come alive against a defense that has allowed four of their last five opponents to shoot 50 percent or better from the field.

Terry Rozier is the main player to watch when handicapping this ACC matchup, as he’s averaged 20.7 points over his last 16 games, including a 26-point performance on 10 of 16 shooting versus the Panthers.

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Difficult Situation
Pittsburgh has compiled a disappointing 2-5 SUATS record as underdogs this season, as it has struggled to stop opponents from scoring throughout the year—ranking 214th in effective field goal percentage defense.

Putting that ineffectiveness in perspective, the Panthers averaged out to land in the 45th spot in that statistical category the previous two years, but they’ve enjoyed enough success on the offensive end to make a potential push into the NCAA Tournament.

Longtime head coach Jamie Dixon owns a 23-18 SU record versus top-10 teams, but it won’t earn a victory in this spot if it continues to allow 71.6 points per game on the road.

 

Get Inside
The Cardinals are shooting 50.5 percent from inside the arc this season, which ranks behind just 72 teams nationally, with much of that success coming against the Panthers.

In the first meeting, Louisville connected on 24 of 34 shots from this area, with Preseason All-American Montrezl Harrell accounting for eight of those makes.

 

Artis-t
The Panthers are better equipped to match the Cardinals offensively in this spot, as Jamel Artis has really emerged in recent weeks, as he’s led the ACC in averaging 21.1 points over his last seven games.

Artis is one of three players in the projected starting lineup to average double figures, with fellow sophomore Michael Young leading the way at 13.2 points a contest.

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino acknowledged that Pitt’s playing better basketball heading into the final month of the season, as his team must get out and defend mid-range jumpers at a high level in hopes of improving to 20-4 SU on the season.

 

Prediction
I’m expecting an up-and-down basketball game with numerous opportunities for both teams to score second-chance points, which is why I'm going with the over as my NCAA Basketball pick. They each rank among the top 36 nationally in offensive rebounding percentage.

Pittsburgh also has the ability to handle Louisville’s press—leading to more shot attempts than the normal opponent when facing one of the best defensive teams in the country.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 130 at BetOnline