College basketball (ESPN)
4 p.m. at Pittsburgh
West Virginia +8 at Pittsburgh (136½)
The backyard brawl, basketball style, hasn’t really been much of one lately. Pittsburgh has won four of the last five matchups with West Virginia and none close. This season the Panthers went into Morgantown and won 79-67. The Panthers are 14-0 at home with all 14 wins by double digits. The closest anyone has come at Pitt was 13 points in games with Siena and South Florida. Lack of motivation could well have been a factor in each of those contests.
As for West Virginia, it’s a question of which team shows up on the road. The Mountaineers lost at Syracuse by 13 and at Marquette by 22. They also have shined away from home, beating Georgetown by 17, Seton Hall by 26 and Ohio State by 28. Both Pittsburgh and West Virginia lost at Louisville by identical 69-63 scores. A good sign for the Mounties is a 26-point blowout win at home over Providence last Saturday. It’s tough go against an unbeaten trend but, with a national TV audience and revenge motive factored in, we think the Mounties will hang in. WEST VIRGINIA.