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Mississippi State vs Pittsburgh Prediction, Picks & Odds | NCAA Tournament

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published March 14, 2023
11 min read

The first day of First Four action in March Madness closes out with a battle for the 11 seed between the Pittsburgh Panthers and Mississippi State Bulldogs. The winner will advance to play the #6 Iowa State Cyclones in the Midwest Region during the Round of 64.

We have provided a full breakdown for both teams plus a Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh preview below.

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Mississippi State vs Pittsburgh Prediction for the 2023 NCAA Tournament

Mississippi State vs Pittsburgh Odds

Here are the latest odds for the Mississippi State vs Pittsburgh game from DraftKings Sportsbook. Check out our full list of the best March Madness betting sites to find the right sportsbook for you.


Spread
Total
Moneyline
Mississippi State+2.5O 132.5-140
Pittsburgh-2.5U 132.5+120

#11 Mississippi State Bulldogs Team Preview

Mississippi State performed slightly worse than Pittsburgh in the regular season. Although both teams finished with 11 losses, the Bulldogs only managed 21 wins, one off of the Panthers’ 22 mark.

The NCAA Tournament is about getting hot at the right time and not necessarily comparing overall resumes. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they were blown out by the Alabama Crimson Tide 72-49 their last time on the court in the SEC Tournament. Players not named Tolu Smith and Dawshawn Davis combined for 19 points and the team made just one three-pointer.

There is also concern whether or not the Bulldogs can hold up for a sustained period in March Madness—they closed the year on a 9-4 streak which is not bad but also damning considering they’d need to win seven straight games to win the national title. Miss. St. is also only 2-6 against ranked teams this year. 

No team in college basketball made a worse percentage of their three-pointers than the Bulldogs. However, they allowed the eighth-fewest points per game and are capable of stifling nearly anybody they encounter, even if at the expense of their offense.

Key Players & Key Stats

Tolu Smith is the dominant offensive threat on this team. He was the only double-digit scorer and had an average of 15.8 points and 57.6 field goal percentage to go with 8.5 rebounds per night. No qualified player makes more than 34.3% of their three-pointers or 77.6% of their free throws (64.7% overall).

On the flip side, four players average more than 1.2 steals per game. They have athletic guards and wings that will press up onto opposing ball handlers and have capable rebounders in Smith and D.J. Jeffries that can clean the glass.

Check Out the WSN NCAA Tournament Page: Game Preview For Every NCAA Tournament Game

#11 Pittsburgh Panthers Team Preview

The Panthers have had an up-and-down season. They started 1-3 before ripping off 10 wins in 11 games but closed the season by losing three of their last four, all against ACC opponents. Their last game was a 96-69 loss to Duke in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal, during which they allowed the Blue Devils to shoot over 62% from the field.

The Panthers have a few encouraging characteristics for March Madness teams. They can shoot the three decently well, make their free throws, and rebound the ball effectively. They are middle of the pack nationally in scoring defense, however, and don’t feel comfortable playing big men for extended minutes.

Pitt takes care of the ball relatively well but doesn’t force a ton of turnovers. It is more reserved than the Bulldogs in that sense and prefers to win on the offensive end.   

There are two versions of the Panthers. The one that is engaged and makes its shots, and one that takes its foot off the gas on defense when its offense isn’t flowing. Predicting which version will be the one to show up in the NCAA tournament is anyone’s guess.

Key Players & Key Stats

Jamarius Burton and Blake Hinson both average 15.6 points per game, and Nelly Cummings and Greg Elliott are both in double-digits. That gives Pitt a diverse playbook to go to when the offense stagnates or when one player is having a particularly tough outing.

Burton and Cummings also average 4.4 and 4.8 assists respectively, which is even more crucial to keeping their offensive rhythm. A lot of their rebounding comes from the pace they play at instead of having a traditional enforcer inside, but they are still competitive on the boards.

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Odds, Previews, Picks, Best Bets for #11 Mississippi State vs. #11 Pittsburgh 

Mississippi State is favored by 2.5 points ahead of the Tuesday matchup with Pittsburgh. The over/under is set at 132.5 points at the time of writing.

The Panthers are the better overall on-paper basketball team. They have a much better offense, are nearly equally capable on the boards, and can play defense when they are locked in. However, Mississippi State’s defense is so imposing that that alone isn’t enough to decide the matchup.

The oddsmakers clearly feel that the Bulldogs will be able to assert themselves on the defensive end, or else they would not have been giving the advantage on the spread. 

Interestingly, the Bulldogs have only won one game this season in which their opponent scored more than 70 points. That was an 81-74 overtime win over TCU on January 28. Pittsburgh, for reference, is averaging 82.8 points over its last five games and scored at least 70 in all but the recent loss to Duke where it finished with 69.

As well as Pittsburgh has been scoring, it has also been giving up a ton of points—85 per game during the same stretch, to be exact. The best Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh prediction is for the game to go over the total of 132.5. Pittsburgh should win but will have to come with the intensity it has often lacked in its losses and also demonstrate a willingness to spread the ball around and tire out the Mississippi State defenders.

All betting lines are current as of Tuesday morning March 14.

#11 Mississippi State vs. #11 Pittsburgh How to Watch

Location: UD Arena in Dayton, OH

Game Time & Date: Tuesday, March 12 @ 9:10 p.m. ET

TV Network: TruTV

Streaming: YouTube TV, Hulu, Sling, etc. 

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

538 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

More info on Grant Mitchell
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