The West Virginia Mountaineers will travel to Pittsburgh to clash with the Panthers in a non-conference battle Friday night from the Petersen Events Center. The Mountaineers recorded a 15-21 mark in regular-season play last season and defeated Akron 94-84 in their lone game. The Panthers compiled a 14-19 record last season, and are coming off a 71-57 road win against Robert Morris. West Virginia tallied a 69-59 home win against Pittsburgh last season.
West Virginia Scores 94 Points in Lone Game of Season
The West Virginia Mountaineers are primed for a rebound after a rough 2018-2019 season. They started their season with a 94-84 home win against Akron in a clash that had WVU favored by 12 points. They return several players from last year’s roster that should post better numbers. The Mountaineers lost their top two scorers while returning Derek Culver. The sophomore forward is a great defensive player who averaged 11.5 points and led the team with 9.9 rebounds per game last season. Culver will log big minutes and he scored 16 points in the season opener.
Jermaine Haley is also expected to contribute in a big way. The senior guard logged an average of 7.1 points on an outstanding 51% clip from the field. Jordan McCabe will also be a starter after averaging 5.8 PPG in 2018-2019. Head coach Bob Huggins reeled in five-star recruit Oscar Tshiebwe. The 6-foot-9 center tallied five points in limited action in his debut against Akron.
The Mountaineers are expected to improve this season and they were selected to finish in 5th place in the Big 12 preseason poll. They are placed at 56th in Ken Pomeroy's rankings. West Virginia averaged 73.8 points last year, ranking them 135th overall. They struggled defensively last season as they conceding an average of 77.4 points, pegging them down at 313th in the country.
Pittsburgh Rebounds from Upset Loss with Easy Road Win
The Pittsburgh Panthers should be an improved team this season. The Panthers opened their season with a promising win against Florida State. They were then upset in a 75-70 loss Nicholls State and countered with a dominating 71-57 road win against Robert Morris on Tuesday night. Pittsburgh returns three of their top four scorers from last season on a team that won three conference games.
Xavier Johnson is in for a big year after leading the Panthers with 15.5 PPG. The sophomore guard scored 13 points in the Panthers’ season-opening win against Florida State. Johnson is averaging 10 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Trey McGowens is also expected to be a key contributor this season. The sophomore guard posted an outstanding 25 point performance on 8 for 13 shooting in Tuesday’s victory. McGowens has reached double-digits in points in all three games, and he is logging an average of 15 points on 48% shooting.
The Panthers are positioned at 71st overall in Ken Pomeroy's rankings and were projected to finish in 10th place in the deep 15-team ACC in the preseason poll. Pittsburgh should improve offensively after only averaging 69.9 points last year. They have averaged 68 points in their first three games, ranking them 255th overall. The Panthers are playing solid defense and have held opponents to 64.3 points, good for 123rd in the country.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are:
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight-up win.
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games.
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Friday games.
The top supporting trends found on covers.com are as follows: The Pittsburgh Panthers are:
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Friday games.
- 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games against the BIG 12.
- 16-4-1 ATS in their last 21 non-conference games.