Free Big East Basketball Picks: Villanova Wildcats at West Virginia Mountaineers

Villanova Wildcats at West Virginia Mountaineers
WVU Coliseum – Morgantown, West Virginia
Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: SNY, MASN
Opening Line: West Virginia -8
Current Line: West Virginia -8
Opening Total: 136 1/2
Current Total: 137 1/2
Opening Money Line: WVU -360 / Villanova +300
Current Money Line: WVU -360 / Villanova +300

Kevin Jones and West Virginia open Big East play at home against the Villanova Wildcats Wednesday night. The Mountaineers are 8 point favorites.

After several years of being one of the elite teams in the Big East, Villanova is in a rebuilding year under coach Jay Wright. The Wildcats are 7-5 this season as they open Big East at the 9-3 West Virginia Mountaineers, coached by Bob Huggins. Villanova has losses to St. Louis and Santa Clara in a tournament in Anaheim last month, to Missouri in New York City, and to Big 5 rivals Temple and St. Joseph’s. The Wildcats have wins over LaSalle, Delaware, Penn, Bradley, and American 73-52 last Thursday.

West Virginia has losses to Kent St, Mississippi St, and last week to Baylor 83-81 in overtime in the championship game of the Las Vegas Classic. The Mountaineers have wins over Oral Roberts, Kansas St, Miami-Florida, and Missouri St in Las Vegas. Villanova leads the series 22-19 all time against West Virginia. The Wildcats won the last meeting 66-50 last February.

Villanova is outscoring opponents 73-66 this season. The Wildcats are shooting 42.1% from the field, including 31.6% from 3 point range. Villanova makes 76.8% of their free throws. The Wildcats average 40 rebounds and have a rebounding margin of +6.2. Villanova averages 13.3 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 5.2 steals, and 2.9 blocks a game. Villanova opponents are shooting 40.6% from the field, including 32.9% from 3 point range. The Wildcats force 11.7 turnovers a game.

Villanova guard Maalik Wayns averages 17.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 0.9 steals a game. he leads the team in scoring, assists, and steals. Mouphtaou Yarou averages 12.9 points, 8.5 rebounds to lead the team, and 0.8 blocks a game to lead the team. Dominic Cheek averages 11.5 points, and 4.8 rebounds a game. James Bell, Darrun Hilliard, and JayVaughn Pinkston also contribute to the scoring.

West Virginia is outscoring opponents 77-66 this season. The Moutaineers are shooting 47.9% from the field, including 33.3% from 3 point range. West Virginia makes 61.6% of their free throws. The Mountaineers average 39.2 rebounds a game, and have a rebounding margin of +7.2. WVU is averaging 16 assists and 15.2 turnovers a game. The Mountaineers average 7.3 steals and 2.9 blocks a game. West Virginia opponents are shooting 42.7% from the field including 33.8% from 3 point range. The Mountaineers force 16.5 turnovers a game.

West Virginia forward Kevin Jones averages 21 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks a game. He leads the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocks. Darryl Bryant averages 16.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assists a game. Deniz Kilicli averages 11.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. He is doubtful with a hip injury.  Jabarie Hinds averages 8.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.7 steals a game. He leads the Mountaineers in steals and assists. Center Pat Forsythe is questionable with a back injury, and center Aaric Murray is ineligible this season.

West Virginia is 6-3 against the spread and the total is also 6-3 this season. Villanova is 1-8 ATS and the total is 5-4 this season. The Wildcats are 15-36-1 ATS overall, 9-24 against teams with winning records, 1-4 in Wednesday games, 1-7 as an underdog of 7-12.5 points, including 1-6 on the road, 1-6 on the road against teams with winning home records, 1-8 following a straight up win, 1-9 in road games, 1-12 against Big East teams, 0-6 as an underdog, 0-4 after a straight up win of more than 20 points, and as a road underdog. The Mountaineers are 4-0 ATS after a straight up loss, 5-1 at home, 4-1 as a favorite, against teams with winning records, overall, and as a home favorite, and 3-7 in Big East games.

Villanova has only covered the spread one time this season in 9 lined games. West Virginia has won 5 of the last 8 meetings against Villanova and is 12-4 against the Wildcats in Morgantown. I like West Virginia to continue their dominance of Villanova at home.

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