NCAA Basketball Betting – Mountaineers vs Panthers
The Pittsburgh Panthers will host the West Virginia Mountaineers as the two Big East rivals meet in the “Basketball Backyard Brawl” for the 184th time on Thursday night at the Peterson Events Center.
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Date/Time: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 16, 2012
Venue: Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Spread: Pitt -3
The Panthers have won 17 of the last 24 matchups, including 10 of the last 11 at home, as well as defeating West Virginia, 72-66, in the first matchup of the 2011 season back on Jan. 30.
And things haven’t gotten any better for WVU as Kyle Kuric’s 17 points, including a pair of free throws with six seconds left, helped 24th-ranked Louisville defeat West Virginia 77-74 Saturday afternoon in Morgantown.
It was a tough loss for the Mountaineers who have now dropped five of their last six, and blew a 13-point in the first half and a double digit lead with 13:49 remaining.
Turning over the ball 11 times in their backcourt, as well as cooling down from 50 percent shooting in the first half, to hitting just 8 of 22 to finish the game, quickly disintegrated their chances.
West Virginia also finished an abysmal 7 of 22 from behind the arc, and was 17 of 27 from the free throw line.
However, the Panthers did post a four-game win streak that included wins over Providence, then-No. 9 ranked Georgetown, at West Virginia, and a 79-70 home win over Villanova on Feb. 5.
The return of point guard Tray Woodall has been the difference, and despite missing games earlier in the season, is still second in scoring with 12.9 PPG.
In Woodall’s last appearance he put up 9 points and a team-best 6 assist against Seton Hall.
The Pirates led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Woodall’s 3-pointer pulled Pittsburgh to within 37-35 at the break – but it wasn’t enough.
Woodall continues to be the sparkplug for a suddenly red-hot Pittsburgh, and during the first meeting this season against WVU, scored a game-high 24 points just four games back from a groin and abdominal strain.
West Virginia will have to do a much better job defending not only Woodall, but leading points scorer Ashton Gibbs, while avoiding foul trouble in this one. Pitt finished 80.8 percent from the charity stripe in Morgantown.
Free Pick: Pittsburgh — The Panthers are 159-17 at the Petersen Events Center in the last 10 years, winning 65 of their last 72 games there. They are hot and WVU is not. Pitt wins this one by 12.