The North Carolina Tar Heels and the Pittsburgh Panthers meet Friday in college basketball action from Petersen Events Center. North Carolina comes into this one at 9-4 overall. The Tar Heels beat Michigan in their last game. As for Pittsburgh, they’re 9-4 as well following a win over Syracuse. Check back all season long for free college basketball picks at Sports Chat Place.
North Carolina managed wins in their first five games this year, then hit a losing streak to Iowa State, Alabama, Indiana and Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels have since beaten Georgia Tech, the Citadel, Ohio State and Michigan.
In the Michigan game last Wednesday, the Tar Heels took a 41-34 lead into halftime. North Carolina was outscored 42-39 from there but still won 80-76. Leading scorer Armando Bacot put up 26 points with five rebounds.
Over on the Pittsburgh side, they went just 1-3 in their first four games with a lone win over TN-Martin. The Panthers are 8-1 since then with wins over Alabama State, Fairleigh Dickinson, William & Mary, Northwestern, NC State, Sacred Heart, North Florida and Syracuse.
Matched up against the Orange last Tuesday, the Panthers were leading by eight points going into the second half. Pittsburgh had to hang on but they got the win 84-82. Blake Hinson doubled up on 25 points and 13 rebounds.
PICK: I’m going to take a stab on Pittsburgh. The Panthers are going off a gutsy win over Syracuse, featuring 46.7 percent shooting, 20 team assists and a 44-35 rebounding advantage (14-15 offensive). Pittsburgh does have a few things to clean up—namely the 16 turnovers—but they’re looking pretty solid in this three-game win streak. That said, North Carolina will be perhaps the toughest opponent of the year. The Tar Heels have 72 or more points in five straight games and should score pretty well in this one also. It’ll be a fun matchup, and I think Pitt can get in there.