|Points Per Game||87.2||71.1|
|Field Goal %||44.2||46.3|
|Rebounds Per Game||40.4||34.0|
|Assists Per Game||16.6||14.8|
|Blocks Per Game||5.8||3.2|
|Steals Per Game||10.8||4.8|
Tip-Off: 8:00 pm
The #18 West Virginia Mountaineers (8-1) and the Pitt Panthers (5-4) resume their rivalry in the Backyard Brawl, the hardwood edition, this Saturday at the Peterson Events Center in Pittsburgh. This will be the 185th meeting between the two programs and West Virginia leads the series 96-88.
It has been almost six years since these two teams have met, and the Mountaineers won at Pitt in their last meeting, 66-48.
The Panthers started off the season 1-4, but since then have won four straight. They have only faced two power five schools (Oklahoma State and Penn State), and lost both games.
Pitt has some height at the guard position, that should help them see over the press, but they have turnover issues. As a team, they average 14 turnovers a game.
Four starters average double figures in scoring. guard Jared Wilson Frame (6-5 220-lbs), leads the team in scoring (12.9) and forward Ryan Luther (6’9” 224-lbs) is close to averaging a double-double, averaging 12.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
Guard Marcus Carr (6’1” 185-lbs) averages 12.0 points per game, and is shooting 47.8% from behind the arc.
Freshman guard Shamiel Stevenson (6’6” 230-lbs) has earned his way into the starting line-up over forward Kene Chukwuka (6’9” 215-lbs) the last three games. Stevenson is averaging 10.7 points on the year, shooting 58.6% from the field.
Jonathan Milligan (6’2” 170-lbs) is the fourth guard that makes up the starting five for the Panthers, averaging 7.6 points per game.
Guards Parker Stewart (6’5” 190-lbs) and Khameron Davis (6’4” 195lbs) will come off the bench, contributing some valuable minutes.
Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings has a young team this year, and it is the reason for their slow start. The roster is flied up with 7 freshmen and 9 players seeing their first division one competition.
Although Pitt is on a four-game win streak, the teams they beat were all mid majors and have a combined record of 14-19.
West Virginia is coming off a big win against Virginia at home and riding an eight-game winning streak going into this game.
Jevon Carter has been playing like a man possessed the last three games, averaging 25.1 points, 5.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game.
The Panthers had trouble with some of the full-court pressure that Oklahoma State showed against them, and I expect them to really struggle against West Virginia’s full court press.
I think Pitt will play better than they have and will keep it close, possibly throughout the first half, but West Virginia will pull away in the second half.
West Virginia is going to do what they have done to teams all season. The will turn Pitt over and outrebound them in a blowout.
Mountaineers go on to win this one 88-61.