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Pittsburgh Panthers Predictions: 2011 CBB Future Lines

2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Team Previews- Pittsburgh Panthers

Pittsburgh was the top team in the Big East last year in the regular season with a conference record of 15-3, but an early exit in the conference tournament with a 76-74 loss to Connecticut as a 5.5-point favorite helped set the stage for an even more disappointing early exit from the NCAA Tournament.

It was a 71-70 loss to Butler in its second game as an eight-point favorite. The Panthers finished the season 27-5 overall.

They come into this season as the No.11 team in the country in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and the Sporting News Top 25 and they cracked the top 10 of the AP’s initial preseason rankings right at No.10.

With a couple of key pieces missing from last year’s team, Pitt will be pressed to turn in another 15-win season in Big East play, but it will still be one of the best teams in the conference. Gone are Brad Wanamaker and Gilbert Brown, but back for one more season is senior guard Ashton Gibbs. He led the team in scoring last year with an average of 16.7 points a game. Junior guard Travon Woodall will fill Wanamaker’s spot, and while he may not be able to replace his 12 points a game, he is an excellent playmaker from the point position. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

The rest of the starting five should consist of junior center Dante Taylor, sophomore guard/forward Lamar Patterson, and forward senior forward Nasir Robinson. Taylor has yet to live up to the high expectations he brought to the team as a five-star prospect out of high school, but is poised for a breakout campaign this season.

Pitts’ youth movement is underway with a trio of freshman including guards Isaiah Epps and Cameron Wright and forward Khem Birch. While these three are the face of Pitts’ future, look for all of them to start contributing right away off the bench.

The Panthers open the season on Nov.11 at home against Albany and face their first real test on Dec. 3 at Tennessee. They open conference play against Notre Dame on Dec.27 and face No.22 Cincinnati on New Year’s Day. Pitt will know where it stands in the Big East after a mid-January stretch of games that has it on the road against No.21 Marquette and No.5 Syracuse, and then back home to face No. 8 Louisville on Jan. 21.

BetOnline has the Panthers as the third-favorite to win the conference at +350, behind Syracuse at +230 and defending national champion Connecticut at +220. Pitts odds to win a national title are +2000 and the over/under on its potential seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament is 3.5.

NCAA Basketball gambling season is right around the corner and we’ve got your back with tons of great college basketball handicapping articles to help you become the best basketball betting expert on your block in the 2011/12 NCAA Hoops season and beyond.
 

 

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About Dave Schwab

David Schwab is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. While not cheering for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles David can be found working on his blog at www.eaglesinc.com. David wants to hear from you so please comment below.


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