Pittsburgh’s Justin Champagnie dunks against Syracuse during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
- The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-8, 5-6 ACC) host the Pittsburgh Panthers (9-6, 5-5 ACC) Sunday, Feb. 14
- Both teams are coming off losses, with the Ramblin’ Wreck losing Friday at the buzzer to Clemson
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who controlled most of their game with Clemson Friday before losing on a banked-in three at the buzzer, host the Pittsburgh Panthers Sunday, Feb. 14 in Atlanta. Tip is set for 4pm ET at McCamish Pavilion.
Both the Panthers and Yellow Jackets started the season strong, getting out of the gate with an 8-2 and 7-3 record, respectively. But Jeff Capel and Josh Pastner’s teams have struggled since Jan. 23, only winning a combined three out of twelve games.
Statistically, Pitt is ranked high in a pair of key categories. The Panthers rank second in the ACC (20th nationally) in offensive rebounds (13.1 orpg.) and third in offensive rebound percentage (.344). Meanwhile, G-Tech is solid at distributing the ball, ranking third in the conference in assists per game (16.6) and turning opponents over, ranking second in the ACC in steals per game (8.9).
Now, the Ramblin’ Wreck are favored to knock off the Panthers in the ATL Sunday.
Pittsburgh vs Georgia Tech Odds
|Pittsburgh||+4.5 (-115)||N/A||Ov 142 (-115)|
|Georgia Tech||-4.5 (-105)||N/A||Un 142 (-105)|
Odds taken Feb. 13 at FanDuel
Bring on the Bubbly
Sophomore guard Justin Champagnie is one of only three players — along with West Virginia’s Derek Culver and Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn — from a major conference school averaging a double-double for the season. He’s also only one of five players in the NCAA averaging better than 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-6 talent out of Brooklyn is going for 19.2 points and 12.0 boards per game. He became the first player in program history to go for at least 30 points, grab 10 rebounds and block five shots in a single game against Duke in a 79-75 win Jan. 19.
Champagnie is one of 30 players in the country on the Naismith Trophy Midseason Team a legit candidate for ACC Player of the Year, leading the conference in scoring and rebounding. He’s also the first ACC player since Tim Duncan to record two or more 20-20 games in a season. Pastner’s team will have a challenging time slowing him down.
Even if Georgia Tech does contain Champagnie, Xavier Johnson and Au’Diese Toney can help fill the void. Both are averaging over 14 points per game this season, with Toney coming off an eight-point performance against Virginia in a 73-66 loss last Sunday in Pitt’s last outing.
The Panthers have had six days off to prepare for the Yellow Jackets — and have a trio of players that can score with anyone in the conference.
Bad Taste, Too
Pitt isn’t the only team Sunday smarting from a disappointing defeat. Despite shooting 52-percent from the field, Georgia Tech went down Friday night after Clemson’s Nick Honor banked in a 3-pointer from NBA range with 1.1 seconds left as the Tigers stunned the Yellow Jackets 74-72.
Now, G-Tech returns home — which is good news for the Jackets. Since opening the season with a pair of disastrous losses to Georgia State and Mercer, Georgia Tech has gone 7-1 at McCamish Pavilion. The only loss was a 57-49 loss to the Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Pastner’s club is led in scoring by senior guard Jose Alvarado (coincidentally, another Brooklyn product), who is averaging 17.1 points per game. Not far behind the upperclassman in the scoring department is fellow senior Moses Wright. The Raleigh native is putting up 16.0 points an outing.
Back home and possessing experienced scorers, the Ramblin’ Wreck seem primed to handle their business Sunday.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Playing away from Peterson Events Center hasn’t fazed Pitt though. The Panthers own a 3-2 mark in games outside the Steel City — although that last road victory against Syracuse, a 63-60 decision, was all the way back on Jan. 6.
Georgia Tech has won five of the last seven games in this series and four of the last five in Atlanta. KenPom predicts this going the Yellow Jackets’ way at 74-69.
But G-Tech is also playing its third game in five days and fatigue has to be a factor — plus, It’s hard to go against a rested Pitt team with a motivated Champagnie.
The pick: Pittsburgh +4.5 (-115)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.