The Louisville Cardinals hit the road on Tuesday night to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers for their third games on the road in their last five. The Cardinals squeaked by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday 67-64 and will be looking to avenge an unexpected loss in Pittsburgh last season, 89-86 in overtime.
Louisville looks to avenge last season’s loss at Pittsburgh
Far more is expected this season of this Louisville team as they are currently #11 in the nation and one of the favorites to win the ACC regular-season title. The Cardinals are led by All-American candidate Jordan Nwora who has played well recently but received little help in the scoring department from his teammates in recent weeks. Ryan McMahon finally stepped up and carried some load over the weekend with 17 points against Notre Dame in South Bend.
Pittsburgh comes into the game as another in the long list of inconsistent ACC programs in the 2019-20 season. After a hard-fought come back victory on the road in Chapel Hill, the Panthers laid an egg against a Miami (Fl) team that is also inconsistent at best. Xavier Johnson continues to struggle this season after a promising freshman campaign while Trey McGowens and Justin Champagnie have seemingly found their footing. If the Panthers can find a way to all get on the same page, this team has NCAA Tournament level talent.
Can Jordan Nwora get some help?
Nwora has done his part this season, averaging 20.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. However, even with an All-American level talent, Louisville is just 8-8 against the spread despite a strength of schedule that ranks 82nd in the nation. The Cardinals are 2-3 ATS on the road and 3-2 straight up. They have gone over in just two of their five games away from home. Going back to last season, the Cardinals are 2-5 ATS in true road games. Samuell Williamson has underwhelmed as a freshman despite a reputation as a big time scorer. If Louisville is to take the next step into a national championship contender, Williamson needs to provide some relief on the offensive end.
Can Pittsburgh get it together and snatch a bid?
The Panthers have now lost three of their last seven games, including a game at PEC to lowly Wake Forest. This is nothing foreign to this squad as the Panthers are 4-6 against the spread at home and, like Louisville, 8-8 overall on the season. While the Panthers have not exactly been cover monsters, they are 6-1 straight up in their last seven games at home. The bad news is that Pitt is 4-15-1 ATS in their last 20 games against ACC opponents overall.
Louisville (-6) at Pittsburgh Pick
This game is pretty simple, Pittsburgh is not elite on either side of the ball, but especially on offense given the struggles of Xavier Johnson. Considering his matchup with Darius Perry, one of the best defenders in the ACC, don’t expect things to change a whole lot this evening. Louisville plays a tough pack-line defense that is sure to give the Panthers trouble and given Pittsburgh’s struggles on the season (303rd in the nation) from behind the three-point line, I am not sure they can keep up. Look for Steven Enoch to neutralize Eric Hamilton and Terrell Brown on the block and Pittsburgh to have a long night. Louisville covers on the road in a game that just gets to the over.