Two teams tipping off their ACC conference schedule meet up in the NCAAB Pittsburgh at Miami pick on Wednesday (6:00 PM EST, ACC Network). Both squads have started their seasons with just one loss, yet the Panthers are -3 point road road favorites as the Hurricanes have suffered a rash of injuries as of late.
The Hurricanes could be missing as many as 33.5 ppg on Wednesday with the absences of Chris Lykes, Kameron McGusty, and Matt Cross who have all been injured recently. Miami lost their last game outright as -18 point favorites, so somebody on the team has to step up to beat Pitt.
Pittsburgh On a 4-Game Win Streak
The Panthers could easily be 5-0 heading into Wednesday’s NCAAB Pittsburgh at Miami pick if not for a 70-80 loss to St. Francis (PA) to open the season, an upset as -16 point favorites. The Panthers do have a 71-70 signature win at Northwestern last week as +3 point underdogs, but otherwise have been at least 10 point favorites in their other four contests this season.
Pittsburgh does have what looks like the best player on the court in the meeting with the Hurricanes as Justin Champagnie has gone off for 20 points and 21 rebounds vs. Northwestern and followed that up with 24/21 vs. Gardner-Webb on Saturday.
Miami has a top 20 shooting defense (35.5%), but Pitt is far from a one-man team. Xavier Johnson has scored 20+ in two of the last four games and Au’diese Toney is also chipping in 16.4 ppg as well. Pittsburgh had lost five straight in this series before a 62-57 win at home last season as -7.5 favorites.
Miami to Get Help From NCAA Ruling
Jim Larranaga will have reinforcements at the ready depending an NCAA ruling to make transfer players immediately eligible. That vote will come about an hour before tip-off, which cuts things close but will ultimately give Miami a boost if they are able to get Elijah Olaniyi on the floor. The Stony Brook transfer averaged 18 points and 6.5 boards for the Seawolves last season.
The reason Miami needs all the help they can get on Wednesday is because the team has been ravaged by injuries. The ‘Canes started the year 3-0 which included a 58-54 win over Purdue as +3 point underdogs. The injuries are taking their toll, as Miami lost 66-62 to Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday as -18 point favorites.
Chris Lykes has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and remains doubtful vs. Pitt. Kameron McGusty hurt his leg vs. FGCU and is out Wednesday, and the Hurricanes also lost some depth on the blocks with Rodney Miller also getting hurt last time out. Miami still has leading scorer Isaiah Wong (17.0), but he’s got a lot of added pressure here.
Free NCAAB Pittsburgh at Miami Pick
The Hurricanes have gotten the better of Pittsburgh in this series recently, but it’s a lot to ask for Miami to continue that trend with a skeleton lineup. The Panthers have a dominant player in Champagnie, and should be able to get a fairly significant win in this matchup.
Pitt 70 – Miami 61
Free Pick: Pittsburgh -3