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PITTSBURGH FACES TOUGH ROAD TEST WITHOUT GIBBS
Fri, 11 Mar 2011 04:50 AM EST

PITTSBURGH PANTHERS (21-2, 9-1 in Big East)

at WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (15-7, 6-4 in Big East)

Tip-off: Monday, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Line: West Virginia -1, Total: 128.5

Pittsburgh will play its first game without leading scorer Ashton Gibbs when it visits West Virginia on Monday night.

Gibbs (16.3 PPG, 3.1 APG, 46.3% three-pointers) suffered an MCL injury in his left knee and is expected to be out for 10-to-14 days. He scored a career-high-tying 25 points and made all five of his three-pointers in a 71-59 win over Cincinnati on Saturday. With Gibbs sidelined, second-leading scorer Brad Wanamaker and Gilbert Brown should get more field-goal attempts on offense. Wanamaker (12.3 PPG, 5.2 APG, 4.9 RPG, 38.9% three-pointers) finished with eight points versus Cincinnati on 4-of-8 shooting, while Brown (11.5 PPG, 41.3% three-pointers) had 11 points on 3-of-6 from the field. Travon Woodall (6.7 PPG, 3.6 APG) will take some of Gibbs’ minutes in the starting lineup. The Panthers held the Bearcats to 33.3% shooting (21-of-63) in winning for the 11th time in the past 12 games. They’ve also won 17 of their past 23 on the road, including five straight games. Pitt’s only setback in the past 12 games came in a 56-51 loss to Notre Dame at home on Jan. 24. Odds.

West Virginia is coming off a 66-50 loss at Villanova on Saturday. Leading scorer Casey Mitchell (15.7 PPG, 36.4% three-pointers) was scoreless in his first game back from a three-game suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Mitchell played 13 minutes and was 0-for-3 from the field. Kevin Jones (13.3 PPG, 7.1 RPG) scored 16 points and John Flowers (10.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.5 BPG) finished with 15 for the Mountaineers, who shot only 35.8% for the game (19-of-53), while allowing the Wildcats to shoot 54.3% (25-of-46). Jones was 11-of-32 (34.4%) in his previous three games before his 8-of-16 effort against Villanova. Meanwhile, Darryl Bryant (10.7 PPG) played just 13 minutes after getting popped in the nose early in the second half. He had only four points on 1-of-5 shooting and is just 7-of-40 (17.5%) in his past six contests. WVU has held four of its past five opponents under 60 points (53.2 PPG allowed), but is only averaging 56.4 PPG in the five games. The Mountaineers are 2-2 against teams Top 25 teams, owning wins over Georgetown (65-59) and Purdue (68-64) and losing to Louisville (55-54) and Nova (66-50). Scores.

West Virginia holds a 95-85 advantage in the all-time series between the two schools. In games played at WVU Coliseum, West Virginia has defeated Pitt in 24 of 32 matchups. But the Panthers have won 14 of the past 21 games overall. Last season, the Mountaineers claimed a 70-51 victory at home, and the Panthers earned a 98-95 triple overtime triumph at Pitt.

However, with Gibbs sidelined, WVU is primed for a victory at home where it is 8-1 SU and 5-2 ATS this season. This FoxSheets trend likes West Virginia to win on Monday.

Play On – Home teams where the line is +3 to -3 (WEST VIRGINIA) – an average offensive team (67-74 PPG) against an excellent defensive team (<=63 PPG), after a combined score of 125 points or less 2 straight games. (53-24 since 1997.) (68.8%, +26.6 units. Rating = 2*).

This highly-rated FoxSheets trend also sides with the Under. Las Vegas odds.

WEST VIRGINIA is 20-5 UNDER (80.0%, +14.5 Units) versus poor pressure defensive teams – forcing <=14 turnovers/game after 15+ games over the last 3 seasons. The average score was WEST VIRGINIA 67.9, OPPONENT 62.2 – (Rating = 3*).


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