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Preview: Panthers set to take on the Bearcats

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Panthers men’s basketball team (8-3, 1-1 ACC) is set to take on Binghamton (5-6), an American East team scheduled instead of Duquesne (9-0) at home tonight at 7:00 p.m. Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s match-up.

Scouting Binghamton

This will really be the second “buy game” for Binghamton, as they only faced one other P-5 team this season. That game was a 100-47 loss against no. 15 Michigan State (8-3, 3-1 BIG10). Kenpom is only projecting them to win five games the rest of the way, and has them rated as one of the worst teams in the country at no. 303. 

It’s been there offense that has shined in their wins this year as their adjusted offensive efficiency (97.5) ranks much higher than their overall ranking at 232. Meanwhile, their adjusted defensive efficiency (109.9) ranks in the bottom 20 of the entire country. Even with Pitt’s inconsistency at offense, they should be able to put up big numbers tonight.

Who to Watch For

Honestly, none of these players should cause Pitt too much trouble, but the moment Pitt starts taking things easy, the moment an upset happens, like the one against Nicholls State (7-5, 1-0 Southland) this past year. Anyway, here are a pair of players that Pitt should watch out for.

Sam Sessions: Sessions is one of the most used players in all of college basketball as he, on average, plays 86.4% of the game which ranks 88th in the entire country. Furthermore, he is involved on 33% of the team’s possessions, which ranks 19th in the entire country. With an assist rate (30.1) that ranks 101st in the country and a free throw percentage (.905) that ranks 44th in the country, Sessions proves to be one of the more fundamentally strong players in NCAA. Causing him to make mistakes is the easiest way to shut down their offense.

George Tinsley: Tinsley, on average, plays 97.3% of the game for Binghamton which gives him the second most playing time in the entire country. While he isn’t used nearly as much on possessions as Sessions, his offensive efficiency rating is at 106.8 which is second highest on the team. This is due to a low turnover rate of 13.7 that ranks in the top 500 in the entire country. Similar to Sessions, Tinsley is a technically sound player and Pitt can win easily if they cause him to make mistakes.

Will Pitt Cover?

The Panthers are favored by 18.5 points as of this writing. Even though Binghamton is one of the worst teams Pitt will face this season, I would not put money on Pitt to cover tonight. It’s a tough call, to be honest, and I’d avoid betting on the game at all. Pitt has only beaten one team, a 66-41 victory over Arkansas Pine-Bluff (1-9), by more than 13 all season. On the other hand, Binghamton lost their first two games by 20+ to Cornell (1-8) 84-64 and no. 15 Michigan State 100-47. Kenpom is predicting a 75-56 win for Pittsburgh which puts it right above the spread at 19 points. Honestly, I’d avoid betting on this one. Pitt should cover, but their track record this season says they may allow Binghamton to hang around longer than they should.


Panthers set to take on the Bearcats.

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