ACC TOURNAMENT MARCH 11TH FREE PICK

PITTSBURGH PANTHERS VS NORTH CAROLINA ST. WOLFPACK

The 19-13 Pittsburgh Panthers face off against the 19-12 NC State Wolfpack in the 2nd round of The ACC tournament. This game is pivotal for both teams as a loss here ends their NCAA Tournament dreams. These two teams squared off once in the regular season, with NC State thrashing Pitt 68-50 on their home floor January 3rd. Pitt comes into the game losers of 3 straight and 5 of their final 8, including managing only 52 points against Florida St. in their last game of the regular season. Jamie Dixon’s team is led by sophomore forwards Jamel Artis and Michael Young who each average 13 pts a game. That’s about all the offensive firepower The Panthers have. They average 65 points a game, good for 180th in the country. Their defense isn’t much better as they rank towards the bottom of division 1 in almost every statistical category.  The Wolfpack on the other hand come into this game playing well winning 5 of their last 6 and cashing 6 of their last 7 ATS, including winning with ease against Syracuse the last time out. They are led by 2nd team All ACC member Trevor Lacy who averages just under 17 pts a game and senior guard Ralston Turner who averages 13 pts a game. It wasn’t until the emergence of sophomore guard Anthony Barber in mid February when things started to click for Mark Gottfried’s squad. Giving The Wolfpack that 3rd option is what has made them dangerous down the stretch. Their defense has been incredible of late holding teams to an average of 56 pts a game in their last 7 contests.

Prediction: Pittsburgh is a young team who will be much better next season as they return every player of significance. They have showed flashes this season but are too offensively challenged to compete against the better teams in The ACC. The Wolfpack know the importance of this game. A win doesn’t put them in the tournament (they still have to play well against Duke in the quarterfinals) but a loss knocks them out. They have beaten the likes of Duke, North Carolina and Louisville this season so they know they can play. Once Barber became a viable third option this team has played well enough to beat anyone in the conference and are too good for Pitt. This game will be low scoring in the 1st half as Pitt will slow it down due to NC State’s superior athletes. Pitt gives them a game but just like the Syracuse game, NC State goes on a run to win comfortably and move on to face Duke. THE PICK: NC STATE -3

THIS WEEK’S BEST COLLEGE BASKETBALL HANDICAPPERS

1. Miguel DaSilva:  Miguel killed it last week picking 33 college games and hitting 23 of them for an insane 69.7 win percentage.

2. Mr East:  East was a blistering 17-8 last week, that’s a win percentage of 68%.

3. Jeff Schule: Jeff makes the list again going 9-4 last week, 69.2%. That’s not the reason he’s on the list again. In the last month he’s 44-19! INCREDIBLE!