We don’t know much about either of the combatants in the NCAAB Duke at Pitt pick. The Blue Devils have played the second fewest games of any team in the ACC, and have posted just a 5-3 record on the season. Pittsburgh has played just two games since prior to Christmas, and they’ve both been against Syracuse.
Nonetheless the Blue Devils are -4.5 favorites at 7-2 Pittsburgh. That line seems a bit strange for a Duke team that has their lineup in flux right now with injuries and contact tracing. Mike Kryzyzewski’s team has played just three games since Christmas, the latest being a 67-74 loss at Virginia Tech as -2 favorites a week ago.
Duke Tries to Find Rhythm
The Blue Devils 7-point loss at Virginia Tech last week was somewhat surprising as they were favored, but actually not really. The Hokies are a good team ranked 16th in the nation, and Duke was playing just their third game in nearly a month due to COVID concerns.
Duke restarted with games against the two worst teams in the ACC, beating Boston College 83-82 (-11.5) and Wake Forest 79-68 (-13.5). Do the Blue Devils get an edge in the NCAAB Duke at Pittsburgh pick after finally facing a test in Virginia Tech last week?
Even with playing just 8 games (or perhaps because of), Duke has the #5 scoring offense in the ACC. Pitt is right behind them at #7 though, and the Panthers have a defensive edge allowing 65.3 ppg compared to 71.5 for the Blue Devils. KenPom has Duke at 24 though, and Pittsburgh is way down there at 66th.
Will Pittsburgh Win This in the Post?
This game features a matchup of the top two scorers in the ACC, Duke’s Matthew Hurt who leads the conference with 19.6 and Pitt’s Justin Champagnie who tallies 18.7 ppg. Champagnie missed a couple games with a knee injury, but he looked dominant in his return with 24 points and 16 rebounds on Saturday.
One reason to like the Panthers coming into this tilt is because they looked like a complete offense on Saturday with four starters tallying 18+ points. That 96-76 win was a home game, but it also came against Syracuse’s 5th worst defense in the conference. The good news is that Duke currently has the 4th worst unit.
Champagnie is a dominant force and even at just 6’6″. Aside from an early exit against Miami when he tweaked his knee, Champagnie has gone for 20+ points and 16+ rebounds in his last three healthy games. Pitt is 2nd in the ACC in rebounding (Duke 4th), but like to play with four guards. Duke has two 6’9″ starters.
Free NCAAB Duke at Pitt Pick
The Panthers have more scorers than just Champagnie, as Au’Diese Toney has 15+ in six of eight, and Xavier Johnson had 23/6/7 in the latest win over Syracuse. Duke has a couple guys who can go for 20+ as well in Jeremy Roach and DJ Steward, but not as consistently as the Pitt trio.
Duke may be favored on name only in this one, although they do have a significant height advantage. Even so, Pitt getting points at home even with just 500 fans has to be the play.
Pitt 72-Duke 62
Free Pick: Pitt +4.5