Pitt-Cincinnati game prediction
(Season record: 7-4)
Cincinnati took the first game at Pitt because the Bearcats were the more physical team, winning the rebounding battle and stopping Pitt’s offense in the second half with some tough half-court defense.
Pitt took an eight-point lead because the Panthers were able to get some easy points in transition in the first half. When they were forced to score in the half-court in the second half they struggled.
The Cincinnati guard duo of Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright then won the game with their ability to make shots in the second half.
The rematch today at Fifth Third Arena will hinge on Pitt’s ability to defend Kilpatrick and Wright better. The Panthers appear to have fixed their rebounding problems and should be able to compete with the Bearcats, if not beat them on the boards.
The perimeter defense has improved, too, and Tray Woodall, James Robinson and Cameron Wright are going to have to step up their game if the Panthers want to get revenge and steal a win on the road.
Both teams have had their problems scoring. The Bearcats did a very good job on Pitt’s guards in the first game. Woodall scored nine points and Robinson seven, accounting for half the amount Kilpatrick and Wright contributed.
Talib Zanna scored 16 and Lamar Patterson 13, so Pitt’s frontcourt was more effective. If there is reason for the Panthers to feel the outcome will be different this time it’s that Steven Adams did not score in the first game. Adams is playing much better in recent weeks, and if he can score 8 or 10 points, the Panthers might have the edge because Cincinnati’s strength is definitely with its guards, not its low-post players.
I expect a lower-scoring game this time around, and I give the edge to the home team.
Cincinnati 51, Pitt 49
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