The Pittsburgh Panthers (9-5, 5-4 ACC) face a tough test when they meet up against the No. 14 Virginia Cavaliers (12-3, 8-1 ACC) on Saturday in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Saturday’s showdown between the two conference rivals will be their only meeting against each other this season.
Tipoff is at 4:00 P.M. Eastern inside John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va. According to oddsmakers, Virginia is an 11.5-point favorite against the Panthers.
What to Know – Pittsburgh Panthers
Pittsburgh heads to Virginia in place of Louisville this weekend, with the Cardinals postponing a pair of games due to COVID-19 issues within their program. The Panthers were initially set to face Florida State this weekend, but the Seminoles had to postpone games for similar reasons as Louisville.
The Panthers hit the road for the first of three games away from their home floor after wrapping a three-game home stretch that saw Pitt go 1-2. Pittsburgh sits three games out of first place in the conference standings with eight games remaining before the conference tournament.
Pittsburgh scores 73.1 points per game on offense and surrenders 69.1 ppg on the defensive end. Pitt ranks near the bottom of the conference shooting 42.8% from the field but is fifth in the league, holding opponents to 41.8%.
Sophomore Justin Champagnie paces the Panthers offensively, scoring 19.3 points per game. Champagnie ranks first in the ACC in scoring average and rebounds per game (12.2). The 6’6″ forward has scored in double figures in every game for the Panthers this year.
Pitt has an 8-6 record against the spread this season, with a 3-1 mark on the road. In conference play, the Panthers are 5-4 ATS and 0-5 against the Cavaliers over the last five contests.
What to Know – Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia enters the weekend atop the ACC standings and will look to add separation between themselves and the rest of the league. The Cavaliers own a 1.5-game lead over the nearest threat as the season winds down in the final full month of play. After suffering their first conference loss of the season against in-state rival Virginia Tech, UVA bounced back with a scrappy victory over North Carolina State (64-57) on Wednesday.
UVA offense averages 71.3 points per game while the defense ranks first in the ACC, allowing only 59.7 points per game. Virginia is first in the league shooting 49.3% from the floor and one spot ahead of Pitt, holding opponents to 41.4%.
Senior forward Sam Hauser leads the Cavaliers in scoring, pouring in 14.9 points per game. Hauser is third in the conference, averaging 2.4 made three-point field goals per game.
Virginia sits at 8-6-1 ATS on the year with a 4-3 mark inside John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers 5-3-1 in ACC contests and 11-4-1 in their last 15 games against conference foes.
The Pick is In
Virginia will control the clock and play sound defense, but the Panthers have only lost one game this season by 11 points or more. Expect the Cavaliers to come away with a victory, but the Panthers should keep this one close.
The Pick: Pittsburgh Panthers +11.5