South Region

Saturday, March 22nd 12:15 PM EST on CBS

9 Pitt Panthers vs. 1 Florida Gators

Game Line: Florida -5 Game Total: 124 (from JustBet)

The Pitt Panthers take on the #1 seed Florida Gators in one of the better third round matchups on Saturday. The Gators advanced by defeating 16th seed Albany 67-55. Pitt was very impressive in their second round outing, blasting Colorado 77-48. Pitt definitely has been playing better as of late, and it showed in their victory over North Carolina and in their narrow loss to Virginia in the ACC tournament. They are really getting solid effort out of forward Talib Zanna, who grabbed 21 rebounds in the victory over North Carolina. Zanna leads all scorers with 18 ppg and is second on the team in rebounding. The Panthers are averaging 72.5 ppg while shooting 46.1% from the field. They are extremely efficient at the offensive end with a 1.47 assist to turnover ratio. They are effective on the glass, with a 6.3 rebounding margin, tops in the ACC, and bring a physical style of play to the court. They are allowing 62.4 ppg while limiting opponents to 41.3 shooting from the field while collecting 7 steals per game on the defensive end.

The Florida Gators sure didn’t look like a #1 seed on Thursday. Florida struggled shooting the 3, making only 3 of their 12 shots from beyond the arc, but pulled away in the second half for a 12 point victory. The Gators own a 27 game win streak and are the tournament’s top seed. The Gators are averaging 71 ppg while shooting 46.3% from the field. They are led by seniors Corey Prather (14.2 ppg) Scotty Wilbekin (12.6 ppg) who both are shooting 40% from beyond the arc. Dorian Finney-Smith and Patric Young lead the charge inside, who together average 13 rebounds per game. The Gators are one of the best teams in the country on the defensive end, and are 3rd in the nation in scoring defense allowing 57.9 ppg, while limiting opponents to 39.9% shooting from the field.

Florida is an impressive team and are on quite a run, but I’m grabbing the points with the Pitt Panthers on Saturday. The Panthers look like they’ve finally got their act together, and the performance by Florida in their opening game has started to get me thinking that they might be not as good as people think. Florida played in a weak conference, the SEC sent three teams to the tournament, while the Panthers came out of a conference that handed out five. Florida hasn’t been too impressive as of late, being taken to the wire by Kentucky looking unimpressive against Albany. I do think Pitt will be able to handle the full court press, and I think that Panthers possess the size and physicality to give Florida issues. Florida may have peaked too early, while I think Pitt is peaking at the right time. I think Pitt can defend the perimeter and win the rebounding battle, and I see them advancing to the Sweet 16.

 

 Pitt Panthers vs. Florida Gators Free NCAABB Pick: Pitt +5 Under 124

Pitt Panthers vs. Florida Gators Game Prediction: Pitt 58 Florida 55

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,