Pittsburgh Panthers (5-0) at Saint Louis Billikens (4-0)
College Basketball: Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm (Barclays Center)
The Line: Saint Louis Billikens -3 -- Over/Under: 133.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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The Saint Louis Billikens and Pittsburgh Panthers will faceoff at the Barclays Center in the Barclays Center Classic this Wednesday afternoon.
The Saint Louis Billikens improved to 4-0 on the season after defeating the Seton Hall Pirates, 66-64, this past Saturday. Saint Louis held a comfortable lead for the majority of the 2nd half and held off a late Seton Hall charge to secure the victory. Saint Louis shot 47.6% from the field while holding Seton Hall to 33.3% shooting from the field and 23.5% shooting from beyond the arc. Saint Louis outrebounded Seton Hall by a 40-28 margin however, allowed Seton Hall to stay in the game as they lost the turnover battle by a 24-9 margin. Leading the way for the Billikens was Javon Bess who had 8 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals.
On the season, Saint Louis is averaging 68.0 ppg on 45.0% shooting from the field. The Billikens are averaging 5.3 three-pointers per game on 28.0% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Saint Louis has been led by Tremaine Isabell Jr. (14.5 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.0 spg), Javon Bess (13.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.0 spg), Dion Wiley (8.8 ppg,1.0 rpg), and D.J. Foreman (8.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.5 apg).
Defensively, Saint Louis is holding their opponents to an average of 61.3 ppg on 37.8% shooting from the field. The Billikens have a rebound margin of 4.3 and a turnover margin of -0.8.
The Pittsburgh Panthers improved to 5-0 on the young season after defeating the North Alabama Lions, 71-66, this past Saturday. Pittsburgh had a bigger challenge than expected against North Alabama, who is a new D-I program this season, as the Panthers needed to fight back from a 33-29 halftime deficit to secure the victory. Pittsburgh shot 38.8% from the field and just 16.7% from beyond the arc while allowing North Alabama to shoot 40.0 from the field. The Panthers were outrebounded by a 38-35 margin however, did won the turnover battle by a 15-8 margin in the win. Leading the way for the Panthers was Xavier Johnson who had 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
On the season, Pittsburgh is averaging 83.0 ppg on 50.2% shooting from the field. The Panthers are averaging 6.8 three-pointers per game on 36.2% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Pittsburgh has been led by Jared Wilson-Frame (18.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.3 apg), Xavier Johnson (16.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 6.2 apg, 1.0 spg), Malik Ellison (11.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.2 apg), and Au’Diese Toney (11.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.2 spg).
Defensively, Pittsburgh is holding their opponents to an average of 64.0 ppg on 36.1% shooting from the field. The Panthers have a rebound margin of 4.8 and a turnover margin of 3.6.
The Billikens are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 Wednesday games and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games. The Panthers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Travis Ford and the Billikens are expected to take a huge step forward this season as with a solid mix of returning veterans (Javon Bass, Jordan Goodwin) and solid group of transfers (Tamaine Isabell, Dion Wiley), the Billikens are expected to be one of the better teams in the A-10 this season. Pittsburgh hired Jeff Capel in the offseason to start what is expected to be a long rebuild for the Panthers as although the Panthers have gotten off to a nice start, Pittsburgh really hasn’t played much in terms of competition and should be expected to struggle against teams that can match their athleticism and defense. Both of these teams have played solid defensive, however, I just think St. Louis is the more polished team here and I think the Billikens do enough in this one to cover the small spread.