Michigan vs. Pittsburgh Odds, Picks, Predictions (11/16/22)

Michigan got off to a painfully slow start last season, but the Wolverines have a chance to make sure that doesn’t happen this year if they can take out Pittsburgh in the Legends Classic. The Panthers are hoping to finally break through under Jeff Capel, though they were dealt a 25-point loss by West Virginia on Friday. Can Pitt survive this uphill battle against Juwan Howard and Michigan?

Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for Wednesday’s matchup in Brooklyn.

Michigan vs. Pittsburgh Odds

Michigan enters as an 8.5-point favorite in Brooklyn.

Michigan doesn’t enter as a massive favorite in this neutral site matchup as some might expect. There’s plenty of reason to believe this could be a competitive game with John Hugley IV set to return for Pitt. Michigan had a tough time shaking Eastern Michigan on Friday, pulling out a narrow 5-point win at home. Is a Pitt team that has become a complete afterthought in the ACC up to the challenge?

Michigan vs. Pittsburgh Prediction & Pick

It’s risky to bank on even college basketball’s powerhouses to dominate early in the season. We’ve seen top-20 teams completely fall off the radar by January. While I don’t think that will happen to Michigan, the Wolverines are still very much a group finding their way outside of Hunter Dickinson.

Pitt hasn’t been very competitive under Capel, and that’s unlikely to change over the course of a full season. The Wolverines should win this game and should win it somewhat comfortably. With Hugley back, however, and the Panthers putting out a higher-upside lineup than we’re used to, I’ll take Pitt to keep this game competitive. Michigan doesn’t have a serious advantage in the continuity department.

My Pick: Pitt +8.5

Michigan vs. Pittsburgh Key Matchups

If the first week of the season proved anything, it’s that Michigan still runs through Hunter Dickinson. The big man is averaging 26.5 points through two games and has been a force in the paint. Goal No. 1 for Pitt has to be finding a way to limit Dickinson’s production on the offensive end, and the results against West Virginia were encouraging.

Despite the blowout loss, Pitt kept the Mountaineers’ frontcourt in check and was instead beaten by WVU’s collection of guards. The season debut of John Hugley IV, who was one of the ACC’s better big men last year, could go a long way toward limiting Dickinson.

The rest of this Michigan team is a bit untested. It’s absolutely a talented enough group to win this game, especially if freshman Jett Howard plays anything like he did in the season opener, but Howard, Kobe Bufkin, and Terrance Williams II are all new starters while transfer Jaelin Llewellyn is still finding his footing after shooting 3/12 over the first two games. It’s a nice collection of talent, but it clearly wasn’t at its best against Eastern Michigan.

Still, against Pitt, it should be enough. Jamarius Burton may be the Panthers’ most reliable player. The fifth-year guard is in his second year at Pitt and has shot efficiently through two games. There are a handful of question marks with this team, including forward Blake Hinson.

Hinson entered this season not having played since 2019-20. He missed one season due to a medical condition and transferred from Iowa State early last season due in part to a coaching change. He erupted for 27 points and 13 rebounds against UT-Martin in the season opener but struggled mightily against West Virginia. If that served as Hinson’s welcome-back-to-basketball moment, it’s possible he gets back to form and does some damage against Michigan.

Hugley and Hinson at full strength makes Pitt more formidable than last season and potentially formidable enough to hang with Michigan, even if the Wolverines’ talent prevails in the end.

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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