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Pitt vs. Villanova

Big East Basketball Game of the Week

Betting Analysis



The #10 Villanova Wildcats (19-5, 7-4) looked to be back on a roll after dropping back to back games to Providence and Georgetown. They won home games against Marquette and West Virginia before stunningly dropping a road game to Rutgers 77-76 on Wednesday night. The Wildcats previously beat Rutgers by 16 this year. They now will do battle with the Big East's top dog; the #4 Pittsburgh Panthers (22-2, 10-1). This will be the first of two meetings between the conference heavyweights. The Panthers are winners of 3 in a row and 12 of their last 13. Their most recent wins came against West Virginia, Cincinnati and Rutgers. This is one game you don't want to miss (SAT at 9 PM on ESPN).

Villanova is a team that will live and die by the three point shot. Their team includes some of the best sharp shooters in the land. In their last 3 games they shot 50% from three point range twice. They still managed to squeeze out a win the time they failed to do so and shot only 26.7%. Senior G Corey Stokes is the best Wildcat when it comes to shooting the long ball. One of his best games came against Temple when he hit 5 of 8 three pointers. He was a perfect 5-5 against USF and 4-7 against Louisville. He has been a bit cold lately, going 3-9 against Marquette and 1-9 against Providence. His 2-4 performances in each of his last two games are good, but he needs to get more shots. If he does, and then makes them, Pitt might be looking at their third loss.

Pittsburgh is a team that does lots of things very well. They rank 4th in the country in rebounding thanks to players like 6-10 senior C Gary McGhee. He gets 8.2 RPG to go along with 7.3 PPG. He had 13 boards against Duquesne, Cincinnati, and Syracuse. On an unrelated note, Duquesne (16-6) is no joke this year, and the Panthers beat them by 14. McGhee also gets 1.5 blocks per game. Junior Nasir Robinson gets 5.2 RPG per game. The Panthers average 41.9 RPG compared to 38.5 for the Wildcats. 

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G Ashton Gibbs has to be considered the centerpiece of the Pittsburgh offense. The 6-2 senior gets 16.3 PPG and 3.1 APG. Sadly for Pittsburgh fans and backers, he will not be playing due to a sprained MCL. This is important to note as he is their only true three point threat. Guys like McGhee and Robinson will have to take on much more responsibility down low in his absence. Robinson had 15 against West Virginia proving that he is read y to step up to the plate.

G Brad Wannemaker will be counted on for more production. The senior is picking up 12.3 PPG, but has only 9, 8 and 11 points in his last three. He will have to play like he did against Tennessee when he scored 21. He also had 24 against Rhode Island and 15 against Syracuse. One thing going in favor of Pittsburgh is the fact that they work the ball around very well. They rank second in the nation behind only Duquesne at 18.4 APG.

Villanova is 14-2 at home this year with wins over Cincinnati, Maryland, Louisville, Marquette and West Virginia. They dropped games to Tennessee and Georgetown. They catch a Pittsburgh team that is a bit depleted playing without its leading scoring and they must capitalize to have any chance at taking the top spot in the Big East this year. Pittsburgh won't roll over though. They have been very good every year under Jamie Dixon in recent history and that is because he has guys stepping in off the bench and doing their job.

Bettorsworld Predicted Final - Villanova 70 Pitt 68

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