Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh: 2023 NCAA Tournament Best Bets & Picks

Mar 13, 2023 - 6:17 AM

March Madness is officially here! The 2023 NCAA Tournament Bracket has been announced, and the teams are lining up for the Big Dance. Let’s take a look at the early odds, preview and predictions for the 2023 NCAA Tournament First Four game: Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh.

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2023 March Madness Odds, Preview & Predictions: Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh

Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh Odds, Spread & Match Up Overview

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Mississippi State 2023 NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

A one-point overtime victory against Florida in the SEC Tournament may have been the difference between Mississippi State making the tournament and missing it, but what matters is that the Bulldogs are here with a clean slate.

Mississippi State has a preference for getting to the hoop, ranking in the top 30 at near-proximity looks. The Bulldogs shoot from beyond the arc at one of the worst clips in the nation. To go with their interior looks, the Bulldogs crash the boards with a top-20 offensive rebounding rate and successfully convert boards with a top-10 second-chance conversion percentage. You should be happy that Mississippi State made the tournament because this is a straightforward team to predict. Going up against a team that has a strong interior defense and avoids foul trouble (Creighton, Northwestern) will be tough for the Bulldogs. Mississippi State’s defense is solid and interior-based, forcing opponents to take looks from beyond the arc. Elite offenses like Marquette struggled against Mississippi State early this year, showing that the Bulldogs have the ability to keep it close vs. high-powered opponents.

This is a straightforward team that is matchup-dependent and hopefully won’t cause much stress for your bracket-filling endeavors.

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Pittsburgh 2023 NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

Pittsburgh fans have ridden a roller coaster the last couple of weeks, with the Panthers going from potential ACC regular-season champions to an NCAA Tournament bubble team in a blink of an eye. Now the ride has evened out, as Pittsburgh finds itself back in the tournament.

An experienced team, Pittsburgh is an offense-first squad with top-30 adjusted offensive efficiency. Nelly Cummings is a solid senior guard, and Jamarius Burton is an effective all-around player who can play nearly anywhere on the court. Federiko Federiko is a low-usage player who is incredibly efficient, with one of the highest offensive ratings in the nation. Shooting guard Greg Elliot is an archer from deep. For Pittsburgh, the whole seems to be less than the sum of the parts. On paper, with the talent they have, you’d expect the Panthers to play in some closer games, especially considering their strong perimeter shooting. But Pittsburgh enters March Madness having dropped two of its last three regular-season games (to Notre Dame and Miami) and having lost to Duke in the ACC Tournament.

The Panthers lack of depth, and their sub-100-ranked defense means their floor isn’t exactly high. Tough defenses can outmatch Pittsburgh’s above-average offense, and the Panthers need to step up as a whole if they want to string together some wins.

Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh 2023 NCAA Tournament Predictions

You know it’s been a wonky year in college basketball when the team that finished 14-6 in the ACC is playing in a First Four matchup against a team that went 8-10 in the SEC. But that’s exactly what we’re getting when Pitt takes on Mississippi State for a chance to face Iowa State in the Round of 64. This game offers quite a clash of styles. Pitt wins its games with exceptional offense, ranking 51st in effective field goal percentage and 62nd in turnover percentage.

Mississippi State is the complete opposite. They pride themselves on stingy defense, ranking ninth in adjusted defensive efficiency, 20th in effective field goal defense and 23rd in turnover rate. The Bulldogs might actually be allergic to scoring, as they are 328th in effective field goal percentage. The one thing Mississippi State does well is create second chances, as they rank 15th in offensive rebounding. Pittsburgh is decent at cleaning up the defensive glass, ranking 169th in defensive rebounding.

Pitt can take care of the ball and is decent enough on the glass to take away Mississippi State’s only offensive strength. Pitt is the better offensive team by a mile, and I think they can get enough stops against an inept Bulldogs offense.

Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh 2023 NCAA Tournament Picks

Pitt +2 (-110 via DraftKings Sportsbook)

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