Monday, February 27, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Pittsburgh @ West Virginia

February 27, 2006

The first time West Virginia and Pittsburgh met this year it was the first time both teams were ranked when meeting during the long rivalry. Tonight, both teams are ranked once again as the 'Backyard Brawl' has another edition on the hardwood.

Here are the pregame stories and articles on tonight's game:

WVU Seniors in a Class by Themselves (Charleston Gazette)
Mountaineers Class of '06 Going Out in Style (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Pitt Needs Win Tonight to Gain Top-Four Standing (Post-Gazette)
Bye Bidders Pitt, WVU Set for Rematch (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Gansey Likes WVU Coliseum's Edge (Tribune-Review)
Pittsnogle Aims to Reverse Fortune (Tribune-Review)
WVU, Pitt Clash for 3rd Spot in LEague (Register-Herald)

To read our preview and see our game prediction, click read more below and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section!


Eighteen days ago, Pittsburgh and West Virginia met in Pittsburgh, with the Mountaineers 8-0 in the Big East and riding high. The Panthers were coming off two tough road losses and were looking to avoid a three-game losing streak and end their rivals unbeaten run in the conference. Pitt did just that with a 57-53 win, holding WVU's leading scorer Kevin Pittsnogle scoreless on 0-12 shooting.

Since their loss at Pitt, West Virginia has faced a brutal schedule which has had them play six games in 16 days and the Mountaineers have dropped four of them. This has made the rematch with Pitt all the much bigger as the winner will likely claim the three seed in the Big East Tournament. Pittsburgh must win tonight in Morgantown and on Friday against Seton Hall to earn a bye and the third seed. A loss would put Pittsburgh into the tie-breaker scenarios, likely with Georgetown and Marquette and possibly West Virginia, and a 6th seed as the tie-breakers go against Pitt. West Virginia still has to get past Cincinnati, on the road, this weekend. However, an 11-5 conference record is good enough for the Mountaineers for a bye with all the tie-breakers mostly in their favor.

Tonight, Big Monday, senior night for a special Mountaineer class and their biggest rival is in town, so the Morghantown Crazies will be ready to go and Pittsburgh will be walking into a tremendous atmosphere. It is almost a certain that Pittsnogle will hit some shots tonight, but Pitt will challenge him on both ends of the floor with big Aaron Gray. In the first match-up, the Panthers also did a great job in limiting Mike Gansey and taking away much on the perimeter, they will need another big defensive effort and take care of the basketball better tonight.

This should be a classic Big East battle between two long time rivals. The Mountaineers are around 4-pt favorites. Expect another one coming down to the wire. I just do not see the WVU seniors going out with another loss.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

West Virginia 65 Pittsburgh 63


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