Pittsburgh Panthers at (2) Virginia Cavaliers (-13, 117.5 o/u)
The No. 2 the Virginia Cavaliers (23-1, 11-1 ACC) will look to take a two-game lead at the top of the ACC standings tonight when they host the Pittsburgh Panthers (17-9, 6-6 ACC) at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville (7:00 p.m. Eastern).
Since losing their first (and so far only) game of the season at home to Duke in late January, Virginia has reeled off four straight against North Carolina, Louisville, NC State, and Wake Forest.
While a conference win is never something to sneer at, the home win over the 12-14 Demon Deacons was less than convincing. The Cavaliers trailed by seven at the half and needed a steal from Malcolm Brogdon in the dying seconds to edge Wake, 61-60.
“I knew [Codi Miller-McIntyre] wanted to get by me,” Brogdon said about his game-clinching play. “He’s not a shooter. He’s a slasher. I knew he was going to try to get into my body, and I just tried to square him up and stay in front of him, and he coughed up the ball.”
Pittsburgh comes to this game inspired after an 89-76 upset of then-No. 12 North Carolina; sophomore forward Sheldon Jeter scored a career-high 22 points in the win.
“We already have shifted the focus. We are moving on to Virginia,” said Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon. “What [Virginia has] done defensively [holding opponents to an Div. 1-best 50.9 PPG] speaks for itself. We understand that and have to guard them well to make them take jump shots. We’ll do everything we can to get ready.”
Virginia is a 13-point favorite for tonight’s game at the moment. These teams have only met twice before with Virginia taking both games straight-up; the Cavaliers also covered in one and pushed the other.
(Photo credit: Kevin Coles (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/].)