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Pittsburgh Villanova Betting – Wildcats Try To Exploit Shorthanded Panthers

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/6/2014 1:22:06 AM

The Pittsburgh Panthers have pulled out one very impressive victory this week, but they’ll have to play a very special game in order to knock off Villanova this weekend in Philadelphia.

NCAA basketball betting: Pittsburgh Panthers @ Villanova Wildcats

Why To Bet On Pittsburgh

If sports betting gurus thought an injury to a core starter and a dependable perimeter jump shooter was going to destroy the Pittsburgh Panthers in a Big East road game against a credible opponent with an upper-tier coach, they were mistaken. On Monday night, Pittsburgh showed that it can adjust to a new situation and win with a different formula. The Panthers took the court without star shooter Ashton Gibbs. Yet, the leaders of the Big East were able to go on the road and subdue the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Panthers walked into Morgantown, West Virginia and fell behind 10-0 in the game’s first few minutes. Undaunted and unflappable, they battled back to claim a 71-66 win that has to give coach Jamie Dixon’s club a great amount of self-belief as it prepares for Villanova.

If this team was wearing ice skates, it would need to get a scorer before the NHL trade deadline. Ashton Gibbs, the injured starter for Pittsburgh, is a terrific shooter on a team known for its defense and rebounding. Gibbs is able to create shots for himself while spreading out defenses with his three-point-shooting ability. The Panthers hit only one 3-pointer without Gibbs against West Virginia, and normally, that would be a likely indicator of failure. However, Pittsburgh attempted only six threes in the first place, a reflection of Pitt’s discipline in taking the ball to the basket. The Panthers hit 17 of 28 shots in the second half against West Virginia and compensated for Gibbs’ absence. This is a team that knows how to win even when it is lacking a fully healthy lineup. NHL trade rumors might apply to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it seems that the Pittsburgh Panthers can manage even if they might require an extra body while Ashton Gibbs tries to heal.

Why To Bet On Villanova

As tough and resourceful as Pittsburgh is, the Panthers – who outclassed West Virginia on Monday – will be playing a team that’s much better than the Mountaineers. Villanova is right behind Pittsburgh in the Big East standings, lurking just two games back with three full weeks left in the regular season. Moreover, the Wildcats and coach Jay Wright play a style of basketball that is very different from what West Virginia uses. West Virginia is slow and not very athletic, and that’s part of why Pittsburgh was able to win without Ashton Gibbs. Villanova’s most dynamic athletes are its guards, with Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns giving Wright a pair of dangerous shooters who can also use dribble penetration (which is made even more of a threat due to three-point-shooting prowess) to exploit opposing defenses. If there’s one team in the Big East that is uniquely positioned to take advantage of Gibbs’ injury (and absence), it’s Villanova. Playing at home doesn’t hurt the Wildcats, either.

How The Game Will Play Out

Pittsburgh, which will be without the services of Gibbs through a Feb. 19 game against St. John’s, has a very good chance of going 3-1 despite this key injury to Dixon’s roster. However, the “1” in the equation is this contest. Villanova’s guards will dominate this game and expose the weaker links in Pittsburgh’s reshaped backcourt. It would have been hard enough for Pitt to win this game in Philadelphia. Now, the Panthers face an extremely difficult task… a task they will not be able to complete. Pick Villanova.

Pittsburgh Villanova Betting Pick: Villanova

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