Backyard Brawl II: West Virginia @ Pittsburgh Game Preview

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Backyard Brawl II: West Virginia @ Pittsburgh Game Preview

Another big game for these two rivals with postseason ramifications on the line. Earlier this season Pittsburgh went to WVU and beat them by 12 at home. The style of play for these two teams is very similar. Both teams play physical defense and dominate the boards.

Oddsmakers have made Pittsburgh a -7.5 at home and set the total at 136 points.

West Virginia is still searching for its first statement game in the Big East this year. They have been very good against the bottom feeders of the league but only have beat one team in the top eight of the conference. WVU has lost three of their last four games on the road and three straight years at Pittsburgh.

Da'Sean Butler must have a great game for WVU, as he is the one player that is a game changer for the Mountaineers. Butler leads them in scoring at 17 points a game and had 23 against Pittsburgh earlier this year.

Bob Huggins will have his team ready, and defensive intensity or rebounding effort will not be a problem. WVU are outmanned athletically in this contest, but this team always finds a way to be close at the end.

Pittsburgh is considered a national title contender, and with the way DeJuan Blair has been playing lately, it's no surprise. Blair had 32 points on Saturday against DePaul. Levance Fields also had a stellar performance in Saturday's victory, finishing with 13 points and a career-high 16 assists.

Fields, Sam Young, and Blair have been leading this Pitt team all year, and they will need the same effort on Monday to beat their rival. Pittsburgh is 14-0 at home and is still in the hunt for the Big East title one game back in third place.

Rivalry games can usually mean one thing—close games. Don't expect this game to be another easy win for a much better Pittsburgh team. WVU's effort and intense defense will keep WVU in this game and will give them a chance to pull off a huge upset.

Craig wants to leave you with a couple trends that are interesting for this game.

Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a road underdog.

Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.

 

Get all of Craig's handicapping articles and official daily sports picks at http://www.CTSportsPicks.com.

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