Big East Basketball: West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Seton Hall Pirates

West Virginia Mountaineers at Seton Hall Pirates
Friday, 12/30/11, 9:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Seton Hall -1
Current Betting Line:  Seton Hall
Opening Total:  136.5
Current Total:  137.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The West Virginia Mountaineers are led by forward Kevin Jones

West Virginia picked up an 83-69 win over the Villanova Wildcats as seven-point home favorites to start Big East play and now head coach Bob Huggins will look for his 19th win on the road in this particular conference.  The Mountaineers have proven victorious in seven of their last eight games in the state of New Jersey, including wins in five straight.  Since the 2006 campaign, the program has tallied a solid 46-27 mark.  It’s important to note that the team was picked to finish seventh in Big East play during the preseason.  West Virginia is 7-8 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus years.

The Mountaineers are led by Kevin Jones, who was named to the preseason All-Big East team for the second year in a row.  He was named the conference’s Player of the Week after posting three consecutive double-doubles in games against Baylor, Missouri State and Tennessee Tech.  West Virginia is 6-6 in games played at Seton Hall, including a 2-0 mark against the Pirates inside the Prudential Center.  Huggins is a perfect 5-0 all-time against tonight’s opponent.

Seton Hall had its eight-game win streak snapped by the Syracuse Orange, the nation’s top-ranked team.  The Pirates dropped a 75-49 decision in that particular contest as 14.5-point road underdogs, while staying ‘under’ the posted total of 139.  Senior forward Herb Pope is leading the team in scoring and rebounding, while senior guard Jordan Theodore is scoring 15.6 points per game in playing a team-high 36.2 minutes per game.  Seton Hall is 0-2 ATS as a home favorite of three points or less the last two-plus seasons.

The Pirates are 11-16 all-time in this particular series, but have lost seven straight meetings, including a 56-44 defeat as 8.5-point road underdogs a year ago.  Seton Hall completed a strong non-conference slate, posting an 11-1 record, which was its best mark since the 1990-91 season.  It’s important to note that the program went on to win its first Big East championship that year.

Bettors will likely back the Mountaineers due to their 5-0 ATS mark in the last five meetings, while the Pirates are 1-5 ATS following a straight-up loss of 20 or more points.

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