Pittsburgh Panthers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Preview
Where: Dean E. Smith Center — Chapel Hill, NC
When: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 – 7:00 PM ET
Line: Pittsburgh Panthers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels – view all NCAA Basketball lines
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Betting on the Pittsburgh Panthers (12-9, 1-7 ACC)
Just over a month ago, the Panthers owned two good things: a good record (11-2) and arguably the most exciting scoring duo in the nation (Jamel Artis and Michael Young).
Now, they only have the latter, as they have dropped seven of their last eight games after that bright start (2-5-1 ATS).
Artis (21.1 PPG) and Young (20.3 PPG) are still there, pouring in points and all-around offense for the team. And that, probably, as explosive as they can be, is one of the main problems, because the pair is getting relied on too much. It’s not good that two guys on your team combine for almost 30 shots per game, while also being the number one and two man in the assists department. The possession seems to stop a lot on those two and the defense has caught up.
During Pitt’s current awful eight-game stretch, their averages in points, rebounds, assists, and blocks have seen a drop-off when compared to the previous 13 . The biggest difference has been field goal shooting, as it has plummeted by more than 10 percent. Additionally, they have shot below 38 percent five times in their last eight games.
Betting on the North Carolina Tar Heels (19-4, 7-2 ACC)
The ninth-ranked Tar Heels will be coming off one of their worst performances of the season. They visited ACC rival Miami Hurricanes this past Saturday and were convincingly defeated, 77-62. In the game, UNC recorded season-lows in points and rebounds, while also shooting a dreadful 35 percent from the floor.
Head coach Roy Williams and his boys shouldn’t sweat it, though, especially when you consider how bad the Panthers have been in the last couple of weeks.
As they try to return to the win column, look for the team’s four main guys – Justin Jackson (18.7 PPG), Joel Berry (14.3 PPG), Kennedy Meeks (12.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG), and Isaiah Hicks (12.6 ) – to be aggressive right from the tip.
Jackson has been great in his role as the primary scorer, but Meeks is arguably more efficient, as he is basically averaging a double-double while also anchoring the interior defense, and he does all of that nicely despite only receiving 23.4 minutes of playing time per contest (six DDs in his last 10 games).
The offense has been good under the leadership of those four, and Kenpom.com currently lists them as the ninth in offensive efficiency.
The Tar Heels win, but fail to cover the spread.
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