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Pittsburgh vs West Virginia Betting Odds – Panthers In Peril

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/2/2010 2:00:08 PM

NCAA Basketball Odds: Pick West Virginia

While this week’s Super Bowl odds might tip in favor of the underdog as time passes, the percentages should favor West Virginia on Wednesday night, when the Mountaineers host the Pittsburgh Panthers. These are two teams headed in distinctly different directions. West Virginia has remained in the top 10, while Pittsburgh has lost three of its last four contests. It’s true that the Panthers are still likely to reach the NCAA Tournament, but each loss knocks them down the seeding chart and will make it tougher for them to advance in the middle of March.

WHAT: College basketball betting
WHEN: Wednesday, February 3rd, 7:05 PM ET
WHERE: WVU Coliseum – Morgantown, WV

KEY STAT: Pittsburgh has lost its last two Big East road games, at Seton Hall and South Florida

The Storyline – Pittsburgh vs West Virginia betting odds breakdown
Sportsbook odds side with a West Virginia team that didn’t play anywhere close to its best this past Saturday against Louisville, yet still found a way to prevail, 77-74. Down by 12 points (65-53) midway through the second half, coach Bob Huggins’ club was able to rally thanks to a nine-point flurry by forward Kevin Jones. When star forward Da’Sean Butler drilled a mid-range jumper from the left baseline with 17 seconds to go, West Virginia took a 75-74 lead and then withstood a missed 3-pointer from the Cardinals to hold on. There’s no love lost in the Pittsburgh-West Virginia rivalry, so one should expect the Mountaineers to play with a lot more intensity than they showed on Jan. 30 against Louisville.

Offensive Matchups – Pittsburgh vs West Virginia betting odds breakdown
The Panthers score just 67.5 points per game, and it’s not hard to understand why. Coach Jamie Dixon’s club didn’t just lose three primary scorers from last season; the Panthers lost three performers who occupied different spots on the floor and forced defenses to overextend. Point guard Levance Fields, lanky wing Sam Young, and wide-bodied post player DeJuan Blair gave Pittsburgh’s 2009 team scoring punch, inside-outside balance, and considerable versatility. Without those three players in 2010, the Panthers are struggling to put the ball in the bucket. Guards Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker are trying their best, but this team needs an interior scorer in order to become better at the offensive end of the floor.

West Virginia averages 73.7 points per game. Though ineffective inside just as Pittsburgh is, the Mountaineers have several athletic wings – Butler, Jones and also Devin Ebanks – who are extremely hard to guard. Teams with length and depth can bother WVU, but a lot of opponents can’t easily match up with the Mountaineers’ hybrid players.

Betting Edge: West Virginia


Defensive Matchups – Pittsburgh vs West Virginia betting odds breakdown
Both of these teams play great defense because their coaches insist on it. Dixon and Huggins are two of the better defensive teachers in the United States, and that’s why Pittsburgh allows an average of just 60.2 points per game, while WVU concedes an average of 62.1 points per contest. Pittsburgh fights through screens and uses great rotations in halfcourt situations, while West Virginia’s length often proves to be bothersome for opponents. The Panthers and Mountaineers simply don’t give up very many easy baskets.

Betting Edge: Even


Notable Injuries – Pittsburgh vs West Virginia betting odds breakdown
The one big injury in this contest falls on Pittsburgh’s side of the ledger. Guard Jermaine Dixon, a tremendous defender and a key cog in the Panthers’ backcourt, injured his right foot in a Jan. 28 win over St. John’s. Dixon (no relation to coach Jamie Dixon) needs to be on the floor, and so his possible (not guaranteed) absence would rate as a major factor in this contest.

In a related note, while West Virginia doesn’t have an “injury” situation, this game will mark the debut of freshman power forward Deniz Kilicli, a 265-pound bruiser from Turkey who will give the Mountaineers some inside beef and brawn. This is just one more reason why WVU owns a distinct advantage in this particular aspect of Wednesday’s conference clash.

Betting Edge: West Virginia


Betting Prediction – Pittsburgh vs West Virginia betting odds breakdown
Pittsburgh needs to hang its hat on defense and play one of its very best games of the year in order to have a shot. The Panthers are undermanned and on the road, and that’s never a good combination, especially in a league as rugged as the Big East.


WASHINGTON’s Pick: West Virginia

For more sports betting tips and articles, check out the Betting Edge daily.



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