Pittsburgh at Boston College
When and Where: Tuesday, Feb. 12, Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass., 7 p.m. EST.
Boston College looks to avoid falling into the ACC cellar and send Pittsburgh to its fifth consecutive loss Tuesday night when the conference rivals collide.
Panthers still looking for first ACC road win
Pittsburgh (12-12, 2-9 ACC) is tied with Miami for last in the 15-team conference and has absorbed five losses in as many road games in ACC play.
— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) February 10, 2019
The Panthers’ overall skid hit seven games with Saturday’s 79-76 home loss to North Carolina State. Jeff Capel’s team rallied to erase a 14-point second-half deficit but fell short when Sidy N’Dir missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds.
“We’re on the ropes a little bit right now, but we have to fight our way off it and we have to do it together,” Capel said post-game. “I thought we exhibited that with the exception of the start of the second half.”
The Panthers will be without starting forward Malik Ellison for a second straight game due to an undisclosed injury. Ellison, who has averaged 6.3 points and 3.9 rebounds, was limited in practice Monday according to Capel before he made the decision to sit him once more.
N’Dir finished with 12 points in his first start of the season, and the senior has reached double figures in back-to-back games after doing so just once in his first 18 games. Xavier Johnson is averaging team highs of 17.0 points and 4.4 assists, ranking eighth and fifth in the ACC in those respective categories.
The Panthers are 0-7 in true road games, with three of the losses coming by six or fewer points. They have averaged 66.6 points and shot 40 percent in those games, notable dips from their season marks of 73.5 points per game on 43.4 percent shooting.
BC looks to regroup after rough road swing
The Eagles (11-11, 2-8) also have lost four straight and are trying to avoid their 10th loss in 12 games after a 67-56 loss at Syracuse on Saturday.
Took a visit to Boston College yesterday with Clippers rookie Jerome Robinson. pic.twitter.com/Gsd6Msexr4
— Kristina Pink (@Kristina_Pink) February 10, 2019
Ky Bowman went 5 of 8 from 3-point range and finished with 21 points in his first game as a sixth man this season, but the Eagles finished the game short-handed as starting forwards Nik Popovoic and Steffon Mitchell were sidelined by injuries early in the second half.
The Eagles mounted a furious second-half rally after falling behind by 20, but coach Jim Christian was not interested in taking moral victories from the game.
“I’m tired of falling behind by 20,” Christian told The Associated Press. “I’m more concerned about why we fall behind by 20 than why we come back.”
Of the two, Popovic — averaging 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds — is the bigger question mark for this game as he entered the concussion protocol after being taken out. Mitchell, averaging 4.1 points and a team-high-tying 7.7 rebounds, should be good to go after shaking off his quad injury.
The Eagles’ season has taken a downturn since starter Wynston Tabbs, averaging 13.9 points and 2.7 assists, went down with a knee injury. Boston College is 2-4 without the freshman guard, and his absence has put more pressure on Bowman to handle the scoring load as he averages 20.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
BC’s 81-58 rout at Pittsburgh in last season’s lone meeting snapped an 11-game losing streak in the series. The Eagles have lost seven straight at home to the Panthers since an 81-61 victory in 1997 when the schools were Big East rivals.
Boston College is:
- No trends of note.
- The over is 16-5 in its last 21 home games vs. teams with a sub-.500 road record.
- The over is 6-0 in its last six home games as a favorite between 0.5-6.5 points.
- The over is 10-4 in its last 14 games following a straight up loss.
- 0-7 ATS in its last seven games vs. ACC opponents.
- 0-6 ATS in its last six games following a straight up loss.
- 0-4 ATS in its last four road games as an underdog between 0.5-6.5 points.
- No trends of note.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
In general, with two teams struggling, the pick is the one struggling less — and that is the Eagles. Popovic’s status has not been updated, and that is a concern, but with Pittsburgh missing a key frontcourt player in Ellison, that plays into Boston College’s strength on the glass as well as having a higher offensive ceiling.
Prediction: Pick: Boston College -3
Full-Game Total Pick
This line has plummeted four points from 143, and with the hunch that both teams will play loose with nothing at stake aside from ACC tournament seeding, the expectation is the offenses will pick up — especially on BC’s end.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 139 points
Half-Time Side Pick
With the exception of their loss at Clemson, when the Panthers trailed by 28 at halftime, Capel’s team has been somewhat sturdy on the road. They have led after 20 minutes in their last two ACC road games and trailed by three or fewer points in two others.
Boston College has yet to lead at halftime in conference play, trailing by five or more points in all four games at the Conte Forum. Christian has yet to get his team going early, and that also plays into taking the Panthers.
Prediction: Pick: Pittsburgh +1
Half-Time Total Bet
This is a confidence pick with the Eagles, who have had their four ACC home games reach 67 and higher despite trailing in all of them. Pittsburgh has been hit and miss, totaling 69 and above in three of its last six games, but also going 62 and lower in the other three. The expectation is BC’s offense kicks in and helps drag this game higher.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 65 points
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Another pick in trusting Boston College’s offense, which has been more steady in the opening 20 minutes in scoring between 30 to 36 points in its previous six contests before being held to 24 in its loss to Syracuse.
Prediction: Pick: Boston College OVER 33 points