No. 4 Pittsburgh travels to West Virginia in Big East conference play in what could be a heated and physical matchup – the nationally-ranked Panthers enjoy a – 8 spread in NCAA men’s basketball odds.
Pittsburgh has had an impressive run this year and is looking to go deep in the NCAA tournament in March. The team boasts a 24-3 record and sits atop of the Big East with a 12-2 record in conference play. That is a tall achievement considering that several teams in the conference rank in AP’s top 25 including Notre Dame, Louisville, Georgetown, Villanova, Syracuse, St. John’s and Connecticut.
Some outlets consider the West Virginia Mountaineers to be ranked 25th nationally, and the Panthers suffered a 70-51 loss at the WVU Coliseum last year. In that game, West Virginia fans threw objects on the basketball floor as players from opposing teams scuffled under the basket.
Pitt is off to the fourth-best start in its history and has been blowing out quality opponents all season. The team averages 75.6 points per game while holding opponents to 61.3 points. The big point differential is one of the reasons why the Panthers are favored in NCAA men’s basketball odds.
The Mountaineers will have to host a team that has gone 6-1 on the road this year. The Panthers are led by guards Ashton Gibbs (16.3 points per game) and Brad Wanamaker (12.3 points per game) West Virginia is 11-2 at home and averages 70.6 points per game while holding opponents to 64.2 points.
The Mountaineers are led by guard Casey Mitchell (15.7 points per game) and forward Kevin Jones (12.7 points per game). West Virginia will need to play physical in this game and their backcourt will have to be effective from the outside.
Pittsburgh’s frontcourt has been pushing the Big East around and leads the nation in rebounding differential at a staggering 12.5 per game. The Panthers’ frontcourt of Gary McGhee, Gilbert Brown and Nasir Robinson combine for about 28 points and 18 rebounds per game.
While the Mountaineers have only lost two games at home this year, if the Panthers grab offensive rebounds and consistently get to the foul line, West Virginia will be in for trouble. Fourth-ranked Pittsburgh enjoys a – 8 spread in NCAA men’s basketball odds.