The Pittsburgh Panthers (20-16) and Washington State Cougars (18-16) will meet up in the first game of a best-of-three series Monday night inside Beasley Coliseum in the CBI Championship.

Pittsburgh Panthers at Washington State Cougars  

The Pittsburgh Panthers are one-point road underdogs against the Washington State Cougars on Monday night

Pittsburgh continues its first-ever run through the fifth annual College Basketball Invitational, as the program flies across the country to take on the Washington State Cougars.  The Panthers are making their 12th consecutive postseason appearance, which includes an NIT appearance and 10 straight NCAA tournament bids.  The program has produced a solid 53-39 record on the road the past 11 seasons, which is the best mark of any Big East Conference squad over that period of time.  Pittsburgh is 15-6 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus seasons.

The Panthers are coming off a 68-62 overtime win over the Butler Bulldogs as 1.5-point road underdogs, which was actually a revenge game from last year’s NCAA tournament.  Pittsburgh seniors Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson became the eighth class in school history to register 100 or more wins over a four-year career, posting a 104-39 mark up to this point.  Gibbs will end his career as the school’s leader in 3-point shots made and taken, but he’s hit just 33.0 percent of his shots from beyond the arc up to this point.

Washington State will host the first game of this series before heading east and playing inside the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday night.  The Cougars have been very impressive in this event in tallying three double-digit victories, which includes a 72-55 win over the Oregon State Beavers as 6.5-point road underdogs.  Senior forward Abe Lodwick pitched in with career highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds, as the team hopes that junior forward Brock Motum can return from an ankle injury for tonight’s contest.  He is averaging 18.5 points per game and scored 49 combined points in the first two wins in this tournament.  Washington State is 7-6 ATS as a favorite and the “under” is 9-5 in that situation.

The Cougars are 11-3 in home games played at Beasley Coliseum, which includes a perfect 6-0 mark when taking on non-conference opponents.  Washington State is also an unblemished 7-0 all-time in postseason games inside the venue.  Motum will surely be missed on the court tonight, as he led all scorers in Pac-12 Conference play in averaging 20.7 points per game in league contests.  Senior forward Abe Lodwick will need to continue averaging 16.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in this event for the team to capture this series versus a quality opponent.

Bettors will likely back the Cougars due to their 7-3 ATS mark at home, while the Panthers are 5-6 ATS versus non-conference opponents.

Recommendation: Washington State Cougars -1

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