Thursday Big East Basketball TV Picks: West Virginia at Pittsburgh

West Virginia Mountaineers at Pittsburgh Panthers, Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Thursday, February 24, 2011, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Pitt -7.5
Current Line: Pitt -7.5
Opening Total: 129.5
Current Total: 130
Money Line: Pitt -330 / West Virginia +270

Pittsburgh West Virginia College Basketball Preview
Pitt's Ashton Gibbs missed the first meeting with West Virginia due to a knee injury but scored 26 points in his return on Saturday

The fourth-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers (24-3, 12-2 Big East) will have leading scorer Ashton Gibbs back in the lineup for the second of two Backyard Brawl matchups with the West Virginia Mountaineers (17-9, 8-6) on Thursday.  Gibbs missed the first meeting due to a knee injury, but the Panthers (-7.5) still pulled out a 71-66 road victory on February 7.

That win was the first of three in a row for Pitt without Gibbs, who scored a game-high 26 points at St. John’s on Saturday in his return but saw his team drop a 60-59 decision in the final seconds.  Dwight Hardy hit the game-winning shot for the Red Storm to spoil an otherwise brilliant game for Gibbs.  The rest of the Panthers simply did not give him much offensive support, as Gary McGee was the only one to score as many as seven points.

Four players scored in double figures in the last meeting with West Virginia, led by Nasir Robinson with 15 points and eight rebounds while McGee added 13 and six.  That duo helped Pittsburgh outrebound the Mountaineers by a 39-25 margin and rally from a 25-23 halftime deficit.

Ironically, West Virginia found a way to bounce back in its last game at home against #9 Notre Dame on Saturday.  The Mountaineers trailed the Fighting Irish 27-26 at halftime but exploded after the break by going on a 17-4 run.  Darryl Bryant scored a game-high 24 points, making 4 of 7 shots from 3-point range and 10 of 12 attempts from the free-throw line.  They also did a nice job defensively, holding Notre Dame to 35 percent shooting from the field.

The visiting team has dropped three of its last four Big East road games since winning consecutive games away from home at Georgetown and DePaul by a combined eight points.  Leading scorer Casey Mitchell also continues to come off the bench for West Virginia following three-game suspension imposed by head coach Bob Huggins.  Mitchell is averaging 8.6 points in the last five games since the suspension after averaging 16.6 in the previous 18 games.

The Mountaineers have split the last four meetings with Pitt both straight-up and against the spread with the OVER cashing in the past two games between the teams.  They are also 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall while the Panthers have failed to cover their past two overall.  The UNDER is 6-2 in Pittsburgh’s last eight games and 7-2 in West Virginia’s past nine.

Now that you have read this Big East college basketball betting preview featuring Pittsburgh & West Virginia, check out the NCAA basketball odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.

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