TV Schedule: Sunday, Dec. 20, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Arena: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Line: Pittsburgh (-4.5)
Pittsburgh has just one loss on the season to the now No. 9 Purdue Boilermakers but has dominated every other opponent they have faced. Unfortunately, every other opponent that the Panthers have played were not very good. Not one win by Pittsburgh this season has come against a team expected to make the 2016 NCAA tournament, meaning a win over Davidson might be a necessity for their tournament hopes in March.
Like the Panthers, the Wildcats have yet to win a game over an expected 2016 NCAA tournament team. Their lone loss on the season came to the North Carolina Tar Heels, and Davidson has cruised against all other opponents. Pittsburgh will be their first real test against a team of similar strength, and this might be a must-win game for the Wildcats.
That being said, the Panthers boast a significantly better defense than the Wildcats. Jack Gibbs continues to average over 25 points on the season, but it will be interesting to see if Brian Sullivan, Peyton Aldridge and Jordan Barham are able to get it going and lead to the upset.
I like Davidson to make it to the NCAA tournament somehow, but I don’t see them pulling off an upset at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats’ shoddy defense will get ripped apart by Michael Young and James Artis, leading to an easy Pittsburgh victory.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 88, Davidson 70