College Basketball Picks: Big Monday Odds and Predictions
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 2/7/2011
No. 4 Pitt (21-2) at West Virginia (15-7)
7 p.m. ET
Pitt vs. West Virginia Odds
West Virginia -1
The Backyard Brawl rivalry gets plenty of attention come football season, but the hardwood version has been just as competitive over the course of the past decade. Just like any other good rivalry, rankings and records mean very little -- especially when the team with the higher ranking and better record is on the road. They say home-court advantage can be worth nearly four points in college basketball, and in the Backyard Brawl it may be worth even more.
Pitt should be ready for a rude welcoming from the WVU Coliseum Monday night. It is always a big deal when the Panthers venture 75 miles down Interstate 79 to Morgantown, West Virginia and it is even a bigger deal when they come down ranked in the top five.
Pitt will enter the WVU Coliseum ranked in the top five mostly because of its three veterans, leading scorer Ashton Gibbs, leading rebounder Gary McGhee and utility player Brad Wanamaker. Monday night, though, Pitt will be without Gibbs, who has an MCL sprain. He will be out for at least 10 days, but Pitt will likely miss him the most against West Virginia. While Pitt will have to learn how to play without its leading scorer, West Virginia welcomed back its leading scorer, Casey Mitchell, from suspension on Saturday.
If the tempo of the game is up to West Virginia Monday night, this contest will be a defensive slugfest. The Mountaineers seem to thrive in those types of games, especially at home and especially against Pitt.
College Basketball Picks for Big Monday: Pitt vs. West Virginia Predictions
The home team has won six of the last eight meetings. Expect an obviously charged up West Virginia team and crowd with arch nemesis Pitt in their backyard and do not discount a potential Super Bowl hangover. The Pittsburgh Steelers played in a particularly meaningful game Sunday night in Arlington, Texas, and you can bet more than a couple Pitt players will likely spend the night at a Super Bowl party watching their cross-town heroes. The play here is West Virginia minus the point.
No. 15 Missouri (18-5) at No. 2 Kansas (22-1)
9 p.m. ET
Missouri vs. Kansas Odds
The road has not been kind to Missouri this season, and now it is about to get downright rude. All five of the Tiger's losses have come away from home and it has lost its last four road games, all to Big 12 competition and all in the last month. Now Missouri heads to Allen Fieldhouse to try and somehow end that spell.
The lone blemish on the Kansas slate this season was in a 74-63 loss at home to Texas on Jan. 22. Three days later the Jayhawks received another wakeup call as they barely survived 82-78 on the road at Colorado. Those two games served as a wakeup call as Kansas went on to blast Kansas State, Texas Tech and Nebraska by an average of 21 points per game.
Speaking of 21 points per game, that is the average margin of victory for Kansas in its last three games against Missouri, including a 21-point thrashing of the Tigers last season in Missouri. The total of 154.5 seems to play to Missouri as it is 6-1 SU this season in games with a total over 150, but the Jayhawks can score with the best of them. They are the best shooting team in the country (52-percent).
College Basketball Picks for Big Monday: Missouri vs. Kansas Predictions
With what Kansas has done in its last three games overall and last three games against Missouri, 11 points does not seem like much, especially in Allen Fieldhouse. Missouri will have its hands full with Kansas’ big men, the Morris twins, Markieff and Marcus. The play here is Kansas minus the points with a slight lean on the ‘over.’
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