Wake Forest vs Pittsburgh Basketball Prediction & Picks: NCAA Tournament hopefuls meet in key ACC matchup
Two teams hoping to be on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble come Selection Sunday will face off tonight in ACC action, as Wake Forest (14-6, 6-3 ACC) visits Pittsburgh (13-7, 6-3 ACC).
Tonight’s matchup between the Demon Deacons and Panthers is scheduled for a 7:00 pm ET tip, and you can catch it on the ACC Network.
As of now, only Pitt is on the right side of the bubble, according to ESPN’s latest Bracketology update. While the Panthers are listed on the “Last Four Byes” line and would thus just avoid the First Four in Dayton, Wake Forest is on the “Next Four Out” line, along with Nevada, Utah State, and Florida.
So, tonight is a big, big game for both of these teams. Who will get the win at the Petersen Events Center? Read on for our Wake Forest vs Pittsburgh basketball prediction and picks.
Wake Forest vs Pittsburgh Odds
- Wake Forest +2.5 (-104)
- Pittsburgh -2.5 (-118)
- Over 148.5 (-105)
- Under 148.5 (-115)
- Wake Forest +132
- Pittsburgh -160
Will Defense Plague Wake Forest in Pittsburgh?
There are a lot of things that Wake Forest does well, which is why they are 6-3 in the ACC.
But none of those things are on the defensive end, which is why they are on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble at this juncture of the season.
Offensive & Defensive Statistics and Metrics for Wake Forest
- PPG: 77.4 (4th in the ACC)
- FG%: 46.7% (3rd in the ACC)
- 3PT%: 37.4% (3rd in the ACC)
- 2PT% (Division I games only): 53.7% (2nd in the ACC)
- Offensive Efficiency (KenPom): 30th (4th in the ACC)
- PPG: 72.3 (13th in the ACC)
- FG%: 43.8% (11th in the ACC)
- 3PT%: 33.6% (10th in the ACC)
- 2PT% (Division I games only): 51.8 (13th in the ACC)
- Defensive Efficiency (KenPom): 150th (12th in the ACC)
The Demon Deacons have scored at least 77 points in each of their six ACC wins and 77, 88, and 76 in their three ACC losses. The last of those came on Saturday against Virginia, who came into Winston-Salem and left with a nine-point win.
In the game, the Cavaliers were just 9 of 26 (34.6%) on two-point shots, but they made 15 of 34 (44.1%) from three, and you can’t really find yourself in that position against Virginia, who is 10-0 this season and 93-7 in its last 100 games when scoring 70+ points.
Against Pittsburgh, the magic number to avoid is 75, as the Panthers are 11-0 this season when scoring 75+ points.
It is worth noting that Pitt has hit that mark only three times in ACC play, but they will be aiming to put a surprising home loss to FSU behind them tonight.
In Saturday’s 71-64 loss to the Seminoles, the Panthers were 7 of 28 (25%) from three and shot only 42.6% from the field.
They shot well above their season percentage on two-point shots (61.5% to 52.7%), but they weren’t sharp at all from the outside against one of the ACC’s worst teams when it comes to defending the three.
Wake Forest vs Pittsburgh Prediction and Picks
Wake Forest vs Pittsburgh Prediction: Pittsburgh to win
Will their poor shooting against FSU deter Pittsburgh from firing away tonight? I doubt it, given who they’re up against. Opponents average 26.1 three-point attempts per game against Wake Forest, which is second-most in the ACC, as are the 8.8 makes.
But you would expect them to perhaps be a little more measured in their approach tonight and not die by the three if the shots aren’t falling.
I think that they will be falling a little more tonight than they did against the Seminoles, however.
Wake Forest’s win at Wisconsin sticks out at this point, given what they have done in their other road games against decent opposition.
- Rutgers: lost 81-57
- Clemson: lost 77-57
- North Carolina: lost 88-79
All three teams shot over 50% against the Demon Deacons, with Clemson shooting 51.2%, Rutgers 58.5%, and North Carolina 51.7%.
If the Panthers shoot over 50% or even close to it, they aren’t going to lose this game.
In fact, if they even shoot 43.8% against Wake, they are likely going to win, given that they are 8-1 this season, with a one-point loss to Vanderbilt, in games in which they have shot at least 43.8%.
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Eddie Griffin has been writing about and Betting on sports for over a decade. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.