The Pittsburgh Panthers (2-3) take on the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (3-3) at the Petersen Events Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday. FDU beat VMI at the JK54 Classic last Sunday. The Knights won four games last season, their second-worst mark in the program’s 58 years. The basketball program underwent a complete off-season overhaul, hiring St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Tobin Anderson. The former Division II bench chief brought a trio of senior guards with him to help replenish the roster. Demetre Roberts (18.8) and Grant Singleton (15.7) lead the team in points per game, while Sean Moore leads the team in rebounds. Almost all of the Knights are newcomers through the transfer portal this season.
Pittsburgh vs. FDU Betting Odds
All lines provided by Caesars Sportsbook
Pittsburgh is still reverting to the glory days of the Great East. An ACC member since 2013, the Panthers have spent six consecutive seasons under the .500 mark. They beat the Alabama State Breaks last time out, 73-54. Blake Hinson, a former Ole Miss star before missing the previous two seasons through injury, is averaging a team-best 16.8 points and six rebounds. A fifth-year senior and holdover from last season’s team, Jamarius Burton is averaging 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He is questionable for Tuesday’s game against FDU. John Hugley, last season’s leading scorer, returned to action last week after missing the team’s first three games with injury.
ShotQuality Tale of the Tape
ShotQuality 2022-23 data paints a lousy picture of FDU’s defense against the Pitt offense. The Panthers aren’t a threatening offensive unit, but they’re a versatile group that do well in nearly every key stat and shot type. They are the best in shot spacing and selection, ranking in the 78th percentile or better. Meanwhile, the Knights are one of the worst defenses in the nation in those two key stat categories.
Pittsburgh is best in transition, midrange, and edge finishing from an SQ PPP perspective, but hit percentages show a team that would instead shoot three and run a lot of screens in half court. It’s a shame because the Knights are so flawed with shots around the basket and in transition.
The FDU offense is light years better than the defense, but they expect a tough game against Pittsburgh. Although the Panthers are not a good defensive team, they are respectable in spacing and elite in shooting. Meanwhile, the only two offensive stats the Knights perform well fall into those two categories. FDU operates in isolation 11% of the time, the 31st highest frequency percentage in the nation. Conversely, Pittsburgh defended isolation 11% of the time, the 20th-highest mark among Division I teams. Although the Knights shoot well in transition, the Panthers defend this type of shooting well.
Prediction Pittsburgh vs. FDU
The game is under, FDU playing poorly against Pitt. The Panthers should have their way, but nothing is inevitable, given their recent playing spell under Jeff Capel. Either way, the Knights can’t do enough offensively to push back the total in this contest.
Prediction: Under 153 (-110)