Pittsburgh vs. Villanova Betting Preview

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Feb/11/2011
Pittsburgh vs. Villanova Betting Preview

This Pittsburgh vs. Villanova betting preview is courtesy of Sportsbook.com.

Home Sweet Home. After Wednesday night’s unbelievable, unthinkable, unconscionable 77-76 defeat that Villanova suffered on the road at Rutgers, losing on a four-point play with eight-tenths of a second left, in a game they were leading by five with under 12 seconds to play, any place the Wildcats would be willing to ball in the 215 area code (neighborhood Y, Fairmount Park) would qualify as Home Sweet Home. Fortunately, they will be using their on-campus home court of The Pavilion for the next game. ‘Nova is undefeated in The Pavilion this year, and have won 46 consecutive games there. After the gut-wrenching fashion that Jay Wright’s team lost to the Scarlet Knights, it was probably ready to take the court first thing Thursday morning to wipe the stench of defeat out of their mouths as soon as possible. The ‘Cats will have to wait until Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. EDT to seek redemption, and a chance to pick up a game in the standings on Jamie Dixon’s conference-leading Pittsburgh Panthers.

 

Wednesday night’s defeat dropped No. 9 Villanova (19-5, 7-4) into a two-way tie for fourth place with Louisville, and ruined an otherwise brilliant game for senior captain Corey Fisher, who was dazzling against Rutgers, totaling 23 points and 10 assists, before a missed free throw with 0:09 left and a personal foul on Rutgers’ Jonathan Mitchell’s back-breaking four-point play. Villanova coach Jay Wright didn't blame Fisher. "They caught him right in the split second he was denying the pass and it went through his hands and he fouled him," Wright said. "It was perfect execution by them. It happens. He was making the right play." The loss also wasted one of the better shooting nights Villanova has experienced in league play, as it hit nearly 56% of its shots from the floor, and 50% from beyond the arc. As fate would have it, Fisher has been the Wildcats’ most consistent player of late, averaging 17.8 PPG over his past four games, while shooting 23-of-42 (54.7%) from the field. ‘Nova is 3-4 over its past seven games, with three of the losses coming by a combined six points, and two of them coming on made shots in the last 2.5 seconds of play. This is emblematic of how difficult it can be playing against the top and the bottom of Big East competition. Saturday, the ‘Cats get a taste of the top when the Panthers come to town.

No. 4 Pittsburgh (22-2, 10-1) is coming off of a hard-fought, lunch-bucket-style 71-66 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown on Monday. The Panthers overcame a halftime deficit and the absence of leading scorer Ashton Gibbs to overwhelm West Virginia late, shooting 61% in the second half. Pittsburgh showed the physical resolve and style that has symbolized the Jamie Dixon era, outrebounding their hosts 40-28, with much of the difference coming on the offensive glass, where the Panthers pulled down an amazing 18 offensive boards on the night. Nasir Robinson tallied 15 points and eight boards, while Gary McGhee added 13 and six boards, and guard Brad Wanamaker led the team with nine rebounds. "We really focused on rebounding," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "We cut down their offensive rebounds. We won with our rebounding and defense, and that's what we set out to do." Gibbs is out for up to two weeks with a left knee injury. He scored 21 points to lead Pitt to a home win over then-No. 3 Villanova last February. Pittsburgh’s formula for success without him will likely resemble the paint-pounding style that worked for them against the Mountaineers, as the Panthers scored 42 of their 71 points in the paint. Villanova big men Antonio Pena (7.4 RPG) and Mouphtaou Yarou (7.1 RPG) will need to be up to the challenge, and are quietly hoping that that challenge will not have to be decided in the last 2.5 seconds of play.

Pittsburgh hasn’t won at The Pavilion since 1995, a run of six straight wins for Villanova. The Wildcats are 5-2 (SU and ATS) in the past seven games when hosting the Panthers. Both teams have been good bets in conference games this season, with each posting a 7-4 ATS mark. The Wildcats are 8-4 ATS at home, while the Panthers are 3-2 ATS on the road.

Sportsbook.com just put up a variety of different props for your wagering pleasure. Will Justin Bieber be mentioned during Clay Matthews Grammy Presentation on Sunday? The No is 1/5, while the Yes is 3/1.

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