Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh prediction: March Madness First Four

The full slate of NCAA Tournament games gets started on Thursday but the First Four tips off Tuesday night.

The featured game is Pittsburgh going up against Mississippi State for the right to face Iowa State. 

Mississippi State opened as a slight favorite and climbing as we approach game time; and it makes sense.

Jeff Capel and Pitt exceeded expectations this season, but the Panthers limped to the finish line, losing three straight and four of six overall.

The only two wins came over Georgia Tech and Syracuse, teams that fired their coaches once the regular season ended. 

The Bulldogs have a couple of edges in this matchup.

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KeShawn Murphy #12 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs
KeShawn Murphy #12 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs
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Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh prediction

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Mississippi State is one of the top offensive-rebounding teams in the country, ranking 15th in that department.

They should control the boards in a game where points could be tough to come by. 

Mississippi State’s defense also matches up well with what Pitt likes to do offensively.

The Panthers have lived by the 3-pointer this season, ranking 37th in 3-point scoring rate.

Pitt gets more than 36 percent of its points from on 3-pointers.

That’s playing right into the Bulldogs’ hands.

Mississippi State allows its opponents to shoot just 30.6 percent from long range, 27th best in the country. 

Nike Sibande #22 of the Pittsburgh Panthers
Nike Sibande #22 of the Pittsburgh Panthers
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This game will likely be ugly at times, but Mississippi State has more ways to generate points by hitting the boards and causing turnovers.

I’m siding with the team that has the better defense to advance. 

Mississippi State vs. Pittsburgh pick

Mississippi State moneyline -140 (FanDuel)