College Basketball Invitational Odds: Washington State vs Pittsburgh
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
by Mike Stewart
After winning on its home court in the opening game of the College Basketball Invitational’s best-of-3 championship series, Washington State Cougars looks to clinch the title in Pittsburgh Panthers. The Cougars opened the series with a 67-66 victory after Pittsburgh’s Lamar Patterson missed a desperation shot at the buzzer. Washington State played without top scorer and rebounder Brock Motum, who is questionable for the series after spraining his ankle early in last Wednesday’s game at Oregon State. Pittsburgh will need a better defensive effort after the Cougars shot 51 percent in the first game, including 60 percent (9 of 15) from beyond the arc. If a third game is necessary, it will be played in Pittsburgh on Friday.
Washington State Cougars (19-16): Motum averages 18 points to lead the Pac-12, but was sitting on the bench in a suit Monday and appears unlikely to play against Pittsburgh. With Motum out, forward Abe Lodwick has stepped up to average 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in his last two games. He was 4 of 5 from 3-point range in Game 1 and moved into first on the school’s single-season list for 3-point field goal percentage at 49.5 (47 of 95). The Cougars have shot 56.7 percent (17 of 30) from beyond the arc in their last two games. Reggie Moore has scored in double figures in four straight games, and he averages 5.3 assists to lead the Pac-12.
Pittsburgh Panthers (20-17): The Panthers will be eager to return home, where they’re 91-3 all-time against non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center. However, the team lost to Long Beach State and Wagner at home earlier this season. Guard Tray Woodall scored a team-high 16 points, including four 3-pointers, against the Cougars in Game 1, but Patterson had his lowest output in eight games with seven points. After shooting a combined 1 of 16 in the semifinals against Butler, seniors Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson responded with a total of 18 points Monday. Pittsburgh, which ranks among the nation’s top 15 in rebounding margin, outrebounded the Cougars 28-26 in Game 1.
1. The teams flew to Pittsburgh on the same charter flight Tuesday morning. “We’ll get to know each other really well,” Cougars coach Ken Bone said.
2. The Cougars are attempting to become the third Pac-12 team after Oregon State (2009) and Oregon (2011) to win the five-year-old CBI.
3. Washington State tied for eighth in the Pac-12 while the Panthers tied for 13th in the Big East.
NCAA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Pittsburgh 70, Washington 66.
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