First Four Teams Spell Danger
Following a thrilling 60-59 win in the First Four over Mississippi State, the No. 11 Pittsburgh Panthers (23-11) will travel south to North Carolina for a battle with the No. 6 Iowa State Cyclones (19-13). Since 2011, 10 of 11 tournaments had at least one First Four team advance into the Round of 32.
College basketball odds have the Cyclones favored by four points, which is tied with Kentucky vs. Providence for the lowest 6-11 spread. The Panthers have struggled with consistency, going 2-3 outright and 3-2 against the spread (ATS) in the last five games. Iowa State is trending in the right direction with two top-25 wins over the last three games. Before making our online gambling predictions, let’s check the latest news surrounding this intriguing 6-11 matchup.
Iowa State Rallies Together
From Feb. 8-27, Iowa State went 1-6 outright and ATS. Guard Caleb Grill (9.5 points) was dismissed from the team on March 1 for “failing to meet expectations.” Since then, the Cyclones are 2-1 outright and ATS, including two wins over Baylor.
Coach T.J. Otzelberger has gone all out to establish a sense of unity. He played the entire 11-man rotation against Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament. The team responded with a new burst of energy. Siding with Iowa State in March Madness odds could yield a big payday.
Last season, the Cyclones made a surprise run to the Sweet 16. Will they do it again? According to college basketball lines, ISU is +180 to make the Sweet 16.
Against Pittsburgh, the defense, which ranks ninth in efficiency, must find a way to slow the Panthers’ top-25 offense. Pitt ranks in the 94th percentile with 9.2 made 3-pointers per game. The Cyclones rank in the bottom third nationally with 7.7 allowed 3-pointers per game.
Pittsburgh on the Prowl
In the 60-59 win over Mississippi State, the Panthers shot the three-ball well at 9 of 19 (47%), and the interior defense was excellent, holding Bulldogs star forward Tolu Smith to 13 points. Plus, Pittsburgh did it without its best rim protector Federiko Federiko, who averages 1.7 blocks. Federiko is questionable for Friday with a knee injury.
The Panthers could be a sleeper Sweet 16 pick at +800, per NCAA basketball odds. However, Iowa State is no slouch. The Cyclones are getting good guard play at the perfect time. Gabe Kalscheur (12.9 points) has posted at least 24 points in two of the last four. Jaren Holmes (13.4 points) has stayed consistent at 16.3 points per game in the last four, and freshman Tamin Lipsey (7.4 points) has flashed with two double-digit point totals over the last five.
Pittsburgh needs another good defensive game while wings Blake Hinson (15.5 points) and Jamarius Burton (15.3 points) pour in points.
Steph Curry looks up to Blake Hinson pic.twitter.com/MiDUBVhOTd
— Jamarius Burton Szn (@neverlosebets) March 15, 2023
Iowa State vs Pittsburgh Game Injuries
Iowa State vs Pittsburgh Head-to-Head
These programs have only met once, which Pittsburgh won 81-65 in 1981.
Iowa State vs Pittsburgh Game Information
- Game: No. 6 Iowa State (19-13) vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh (23-11)
- Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
- Day/Time: Friday, March 17, 3:10 p.m. ET
- Iowa State vs Pittsburgh Live stream: TBS.com
Iowa State vs Pittsburgh Betting Lines
Iowa State vs Pittsburgh Picks and Prediction
This matchup could be decided by 3-point shooting. Pittsburgh’s Hinson is red-hot at 11 of 24 (45.8%) from deep in the last four games. The Panthers rank 135th in defensive efficiency. Iowa State’s Kalscheur, who is 15 of 31 (48.4%) from three in the last four, could spell trouble. Look for NCAA basketball odds for projected 3-pointers. Kalscheur can easily hit the over.
Pittsburgh had the luxury of packing the paint against Mississippi State, which ranks last in 3-point percentage. The Cyclones will cash in from three if left open. The Panthers will keep it close with a cover due to Iowa State’s susceptible perimeter defense, but the Cyclones will sneak by with a win.
Iowa State is listed at -175 in our Las Vegas college basketball lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Cyclones, you have a chance to win $57. Pittsburgh is +150, offering a chance to win $150 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Iowa State a 63.64% chance to win, with the Panthers at 40.00%.