CBI Finals – Pitt Panthers at Washington State Pick Against the Spread

 

Pitt Panthers vs. Washington State Cougars -2

We’re not ones to rest on our laurels here at thesportsgeek.com.  Yes, we are coming off an 8-4 ATS NCAA weekend and a perfect 4-0 Elite Eight, but why wait until the weekend’s Final Four to keep the streak alive when there’s plenty of good college hoops to wager on still to play.  The NIT, CBI, CIT, SATs and ACTs might not be so glamorous (and in a few of the aforementioned acronyms, not tournaments at all), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t so good profitable opportunities hiding among them.

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Such an opportunity takes the floor tonight when the Pitt Panthers take on the beleaguered Pac 12’s Washington State Cougars.  Yes, Pitt finished 13th in the Big East, but looking at the quality of the teams they faced this season, it becomes a little easier to justify.  Louisville is in the Final Four.  Syracuse, Cincinnati and Marquette all played into the second weekend.  South Florida and Georgetown won a game in the Tourney and Notre Dame and UConn appeared.  The conference was deep and tough.  Pitt’s combination of injuries and frankly a tough rebuilding year knocked them way down the ranks, but with Trey Woodall and Ashton Gibbs they still have some tough and tested talent.

Washington State’s 7-11 7th place conference finish is a little tougher to justify, though they have salvaged a disappointing season with their run to the CBI Finals.  Abe Lodwick was huge in their semfinal game with 23 points and 12 rebounds, though Pitt’s frontline should provide a sterner physical test than that of Oregon State.

For Pitt, much of the game will hinge on Ashton Gibbs.  Their senior leader has shown some ill-effects of his earlier injury, and played possibly the worst game of his excellent career against Butler last week, scoring zero points on 0 of 8 shooting and notching just two rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes of play.  However, in the six games prior he averaged 16.2 points per game.  I expect him to have a nice bounce back game against Wazzou and finish his career on a positive note.

Pitt’s Jamie Dixon has struggled mightily this season, his first missing the Tourney in his eight years at Pitt, but seems to have the Panthers heading in the right direction heading into next season.  I like Pitt to get the big win on the road and head back home Wednesday with a chance to win the CBI on their home floor (it’s best 2 of 3 format).

Free Pick:  Pitt Panthers +1 (Click to bet it)

Chris Scheeren / Author