March Madness is finally here and will be opened up by ‘First Four’ matchup between Mississippi State and Pittsburgh. The NCAA tournament is known for its chaos and the ‘First Four’ fixtures usually provide that in abundance. Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s game.
Mississippi State vs Pittsburgh Game Info
How to watch Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh
Who: Mississippi State vs Pittsburgh
When: Tuesday, March 14th, 9:10 p.m. ET
Where: UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Odds for Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh
Spread: Mississippi State -2 | Pittsburgh +2
Moneyline: Mississippi State -130 | Pittsburgh +110
Total: Over/Under 113 (-110)
Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh Game preview
This game has all the makings of a classic. Pittsburgh struggled in what was a pretty limp ACC in 2022 and only managed a fifth-place finish. It is a stark improvement over their 11-win campaign just one year ago, however, and this tournament berth should at least inspire some confidence in Jeff Capel’s coaching. It’s Pitt’s first tournament bid since 2016 and you can bet that they won’t take it lightly.
Jamarius Barton and Blake Hinson are both averaging 15.6 points per game this year, leading Pittsburgh through the regular season. But it’s the defense that has fans rightfully concerned. Jeff Capel himself has openly come out and criticized the lack of defensive prowess, stating that his team ‘hasn’t defended well in over a month’, per triblive.com. Not great when going into a must-win game.
As for the Bulldogs, they were able to sneak into the tournament after a wobbly season. They started out red-hot and ended up losing seven of eight games in conference play after a ridiculous 11-0 start. The midseason slumps that caught Ohio State and Purdue off guard also swept up Mississippi State.
They did rebound, however, finishing with a strong 20-10 record and their dominant defense could come into play when it comes to suffocating two very talented young players in Barton and Hinson.
In terms of scoring, they are slightly more one-dimensional than Pitt, with only one player (Tolu Smith) averaging over 15 points per game. There have been times when Smith has had to put the team on his back offensively due to a lack of consistent shooting ability from his teammates.
It’s worth noting that their Head Coach, Chris Jans, upset UConn in the first round of last year’s tournament. He’s used to these big moments and should have his Bulldogs prepared for a grueling game against Pittsburgh.
Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh prediction
I’m going to take Pittsburgh here. Sue, Mississippi State is the rightful favorite, but Pittsburgh is riding a real wave of excitement and confidence, while MSU fans will be thankful their team even made the big dance after almost fumbling the bag. This should prompt a level of fearless play against a team that hasn’t won a tournament game in over a decade.
Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh betting pick
Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh betting offers
Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire