CBI Finals Game #1: Pittsburgh Panthers at Washington St Cougars

2012 College Basketball Invitational Tournament Final
Best of 3 Series – Game #1
Pittsburgh Panthers at Washington St Cougars

Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum – Pullman, Washington
Monday, March 26, 2012, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: HD Net
Opening Line: Washington St -1
Current Line: Pitt -1 1/2
Opening Total: 133
Current Total: 132
Opening Money Line: WSU -120 / Pitt +100
Current Money Line: Pitt -125 / WSU +105

The Pitt Panthers travel to Washington St in the first game of the CBI Finals Monday night. Pitt is a slight road favorite.

The 20-16 Pitt Panthers, coached by Jamie Dixon, were ranked in the top 15 in the pre-season and were expected to compete for the Big East title. It didn’t quite work out that way due to some key injuries and players transferring to other schools. The Panthers started off Big East play with an 8 game losing streak en route to a 5-13 conference record. The Panthers finished in 13th place in the conference and were beaten by Georgetown in the second round of the Big East tournament. The NCAA tournament was out of the question but many thought Pitt might receive a bid to the NIT. However, the NIT did not select them, so Pitt accepted a bid to the CBI. The Panthers beat Wofford in the first round 81-63, and Princeton 82-61 in the quarterfinals both at home. Pittsburgh then won at Butler 68-62 in overtime in the semifinals.

Pittsburgh will play Washington St in the best of three championship series. This is the third time in the tournament’s five year history that a team from the Pac 10/12 has played in the final of the CBI, with Oregon St winning the tournament in 2009 and Oregon winning it last season. The 18-16 Washington St Cougars, coached by Ken Bone, finished tied for 8th in the Pac 12 with Oregon St. The Cougars lost to the Beavers in the Pac 12 tournament first round. Washington St won at San Francisco 89-75 in the first round of the CBI and beat Wyoming in Pullman 61-41 in the quarterfinals. Washington St won at Oregon St 72-55 in the semifinals. It was the fourth time the two schools played each other, with Washington St winning 3 times.

Pitt and Washington St are meeting for the second time ever.The Panthers beat the Cougars in 2009 in a tournament in Newark, New Jersey 57-43. Pitt hasn’t played in Pullman since the 1982 NCAA tournament.

Pitt has wins over Rider, LaSalle, Penn, Robert Morris, Duquesne, Tennessee, Oklahoma St, Providence, Georgetown, West Virginia, Villanova, and St. John’s twice. The Panthers have losses to Long Beach St, Wagner, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, DePaul, Rutgers, Marquettte, Syracuse, Louisville twice, South Florida twice, Seton Hall, West Virginia, and UConn.

Washington St has wins over Portland, Idaho, Santa Clara, Pepperdine, Stanford, Cal, USC twice, and Arizona St. The Cougars have losses to Gonzaga, Oklahoma, New Mexico, UC-Riverside,  Oregon twice, Utah, Colorado, Washington twice, Arizona twice, Arizona St, and UCLA twice.

Pitt is outscoring opponents 69-66 this season. The Panthers are shooting 45.3% from the field, including 34.8% from 3 point range. Pitt makes 70.1% of their free throws. The Panthers average  36.8 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +6.9. Pitt averages 15.1 assists, 13.1 turnovers, 4.8 steals, and 2.7 blocks a game. Panther opponents are shooting 43.7% from the field including 32.9% from 3 point range. Pitt forces 11.2 turnovers a game.

Pitt guard Ashton Gibbs averages 14.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists a game. He shoots 34.2% from 3 point range.Travon Woodall averages 11.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists a game to lead the team. He is shooting 37.6% from 3 point range. Nasir Robinson averages 10.6 points, 6.8 rebounds to lead the team, and 2 assists a game.  Lamar Patterson averages 9.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals a game to lead the team. He makes 42.1% of his 3 point attempts. J.J. Moore averages 7.3 points, and 3.1 rebounds a game. Dante Taylor averages 6.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks a game to lead the team. Khem Birch led the team in blocks with 1.9 a game but he transferred to UNLV in December.

Washington St is outscoring opponents 69-66 this season. The Cougars are shooting 46.7% from the field and 36.3% from 3 point range. WSU makes 70.8% of their free throws. The Cougars average 33.3 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +2.1. Washington St averages 13.9 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 5 steals, and 2.8 blocks a game. Cougar opponents are shooting 42.4% from the field and 34.9% from 3 point range. WSU forces 12.1 turnovers a game.

WSU forward Brock Motum averages 18 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists a game. He is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Cougars, but he is listed as doubtful for Monday with an ankle injury. He suffered the injury early in the semifinal against Oregon St and only played 2 minutes. Guard Faisel Adan averaged 14.5 points a game, but he tore his ACL earlier in the season and is out for the year. Reggie Moore averages 9.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1 steal a game. He leads the Cougars in assists and steals, but will have to take on more of the scoring with Motum and Adan both out. DeVonte Lacy averages 8.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists a game. Abe Lodwick, Marcus Capers, Mike Ladd, D.J. Shelton, and Charlie Enquist will all have to pick up their scoring to replace the production from Motum. Capers averages 5.1 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks a game to lead the team.

Washington St is 16-16 ATS and the total is 14-18 this season. Pitt is 15-16 this season and the total is 16-15 this season. The Panthers are 4-0 ATS as a favorite, 4-1 overall, 19-6-2 in Monday games, and 6-2 in non-conference games. The Cougars are 5-1 ATS in non-conference games, 4-1 overall, 5-2 at home against teams with losing road records, 7-3 at home, and 2-5 as an underdog.

It is tempting to take Pitt tonight considering Washington St will be in all likelihood without their two best players. However, the Panthers are traveling across country, and WSU won at Oregon St basically without Motum who scored only 4 points before his injury. I like the Cougars to pull off the mild upset at home.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot in March. Don’t miss out on anymore winners for the rest of the post-season.




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