The West Virginia Mountaineers travel on the road for the first time this 2019 season on Friday as they take on the Pittsburgh Panthers in the classic Backyard Brawl.
West Virginia has won the past three meetings between the two schools.
The Mountaineers opened up their season last Friday with an impressive offensive performance in their defeat of Akron, 94-84. Jermaine Haley and Derek Culver led the way for the Mountaineers on offense, both tallying 16 points.
The Pitt Panthers enter the matchup with a 2-1 record on the season. They are coming off a 71-57 victory over Robert Morris, but less than a week ago they suffered a 75-70 defeat to a very poor Nichols State team.
When and where: Friday, November 15 – 7:00 p.m. ET streaming on ESPNU
Matchup to watch: In this Backyard Brawl affair the matchup to watch is both team’s guards. For Pitt, the two players who lead their team in scoring are their two starting guards, Ryan Murphy and Trey McGowens. The sophomore McGowens actually leads the team in rebounding as well, averaging 6.7 a game. For West Virginia, Jermaine Haley and Jordan McCabe make up their backcourt. Haley was extremely impressive in the opener while McCabe had a relatively quiet game. If West Virginia wants to extend their winning streak over Pitt to four games, both will have to have big games on Friday night. With the impressive scoring ability of Murphy and especially McGowens, Haley and McCabe will have to come with a great effort on defense. Whicber team’s guards perform better likely will be the winner of this game.
Picks to click: Pittsburgh – Trey McGowens West Virginia – Miles McBride
If the Pittsburgh Panthers want to be at their best, they need Trey McGowens at his best. He is the clear catalyst to not just their offense but their entire team. In their matchup against Robert Morris, McGowens showed just how dominant he can be when he is on his game. The sophomore scored 25 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists. It is going to be an extremely tough matchup for the Mountaineers to keep McGowen under wraps if he is on his game, and I think he is going to have a big day on Friday night.
Miles McBride was one of the more under-the-radar players on the Mountaineers’ roster entering the season, but in the opener against Akron, he showed what he is capable of. Playing 29 minutes McBride scored 11 points to go with six rebounds and four assists. To win a tough game on the road you need one of your role players to come up big, and McBride will do that Friday night. He can do a little bit of everything on the court, and that is what the Mountaineers will need in this game.
Final score prediction: West Virginia 81 Pittsburgh 79
It is going to be a tough, back and forth contest all night long, but in the end, West Virginia makes one big shot to give them their fourth consecutive victory over the Pitt Panthers.