#4 Texas (9-1, 3-0) takes on #14 West Virginia (9-3, 2-2) in a very important Big 12 matchup. With the Big 12 against being a very deep and talented league, falling to 2-3 will pretty much end the Mountaineer’s chance of a regular season crown.
The Longhorns are coming off a 78-72 win over Iowa State after defeating Oklahoma State and Kansas to open conference play. West Virginia returns home after a pair of games in Oklahoma, splitting contests with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Texas Betting Preview
It was most likely a put up or shut up year for Shaka Smart in Texas. Smart was definitely on the hot seat, but this Texas team is good enough to give him security for another year or two. Currently, the Longhorns are projected by many to be a one-seed in the NCAA tournament.
Matt Coleman III leads the team in scoring (13.7), assists (4.6), and steals (1.4). Coleman is one of the better free throw shooters in the nation at 87.1%.
Courtney Ramey, who is second on the team in scoring at 13.3 points per game, is doing most of his damage from behind the arc as he is shooting 44.4% from deep. Andrew Jones (13.1) and Greg Brown (12.0) are the other Texas players averaging double figures.
The Longhorns are ranked 8th in the nation by Kenpom. The offense is 14th in efficiency and the defense ranks third.
West Virginia Betting Preview
When Oscar Tshiebwe left the team, it was unclear who was going to play alongside Derek Culver as the other big man. Freshman Jalen Bridges has gotten more playing time and has shown he is ready to contribute. Bridges scored 19 points against Oklahoma before being limited with foul trouble against Oklahoma State.
Culver is second on the team in scoring (13.8) and is averaging a double-double bringing down 10.3 rebounds a game to lead the team. Miles McBride leads the team in scoring (15.3), assists (4.2) and steals (1.8).
West Virginia really struggles shooting the ball at only 45% from two-point range. Luckily for the Mountaineers, they make up for it in quantity as they are the eighth-best offensive rebounding team in the nation.
Kenpom has West Virginia as the 13th ranked team in the country. The offense is 13th in efficiency, and the defense is 20th.
Cougars/Bulldogs Betting Lines
MyBookie has West Virginia as 1.5-point favorites. The total is set at 141 points.
Free Betting Pick
It is going to be a great day of sports, but this Texas at West Virginia game is right at the top of my list. Both these teams are good enough to play deep into March and are efficient at both ends of the floor.
I think the game is ultimately decided on the glass. Can Texas keep Culver from collecting offensive rebounds? Brown and Jericho Sims both do a really good job of rebounding and I think that is ultimately the difference as Texas goes on the road and pulls off a small upset.
Texas 72, West Virginia 70
Spooky Express Free Pick: Texas +1.5