#519 Baylor University Bearsvs.#520 West Virginia University Mountaineers
Written by Ricky Dimon
Baylor Bears (15-0 SU, 7-3 ATS, 2-7-1 O/U) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (13-2 SU, 6-4 ATS, 5-4-1 O/U)
NCAAB: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. EST
The Line: West Virginia Mountaineers -6. Total: 140
The Baylor Bears will be hoping to remain undefeated when they visit the West Virginia Mountaineers at WVU Coliseum on Monday night. Baylor most recently extended its season-opening winning streak to 15 games when it defeated Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Mountaineers have won nine of their last 10 contests after taking care of TCU this past weekend.
ed its season-opening winning streak to 15 games when it defeated Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Mountaineers have won nine of their last 10 contests after taking care of TCU this past weekend.
Baylor is No. 1 in the AP poll for the first time in program history. The undefeated Bears did not receive a single vote in the preseason poll, but 15 wins and zero losses later they bagged 55 first-place nods from the 65-member voting panel on Monday. Baylor has defeated then-No. 4 Oregon, then-No. 7 Xavier, then-No. 24 Louisville, and then-No. 24 Michigan State so far this season. It is the 59th school to be ranked at the top spot since the AP poll was implemented for the 1948-49 campaign.
“I think it goes to your body of work,” head coach Scott Drew said. “We’ve played a very competitive schedule and we’ve been successful against well-coached and good teams. At this point, and with every poll you could argue about several different teams, with our top 25 wins and top 50 RPI wins and the fact we haven’t lost yet, then yes, you can definitely make a case for the Baylor Bears.”
West Virginia got lazy on defense at times after surging to a big first-half lead against TCU this past Saturday, but it did enough to hold off the Horned Frogs 82-70. Daxter Miles tied his season-high for points with 22 for his third 20-point effort of the season. Jevon Carter added 13 points, nine of which came during a decisive 16-4 run midway through the second half. Mountaineers’ head coach Bob Huggins said he received a text message from Miles on Friday night from the hotel where he put the players to allow them to rest up for the game.“He’s texting me saying, ‘I got to go get shots, I got to go get shots, I got to go get shots,’ when usually he’s saying. ‘Why is practice so long?’ So I thought he’d have a great game.”
“I think we picked our energy level up,” Miles assessed. “The Big 12 is a tough league. Every night is going to be a good game. [You’ve] just got to do what you can do to try to get the best outcome. We came out with no enthusiasm [in the recent loss to Texas Tech]. We’ve got to play with energy. And when we play with a lot of energy, good things happen for us.”
The Baylor Bears are:
The West Virginia Mountaineers are:
West Virginia has hardly impressed in its last two outings. As for the Bears, they feature a balanced attack in which four players are scoring in double-figures. Johnathan Motley, a 6-foot-10 forward, is leading the way at 15.8 points per game. Baylor has not lost a single game this season; there is no reason to think it will suddenly lose one by more than six points. The Bears are 7-2 ATS in their last nine overall, 11-1-1 ATS in their last 13 on the road, 11-1-1 ATS in their last 13 on the road against opponents with winning home records, and 6-2 ATS in their last eight against winning opponents. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.
West Virginia generally plays at a frenetic pace. It presses, presses, and presses some more. That can lead to transition points of turnovers while also forcing opposing offenses to player faster than they would like. Of course, Baylor will likely have no trouble playing up-tempo basketball. The over is 5-1 in the Bears’ last six against winning opponents. It is also 3-0-1 in the Mountaineers’ last four overall, 3-0-1 in their last four against the Big 12, and 5-1 in their last six against winning opponents. Additionally, the over is 5-1 in the last six meetings between the two teams and 4-1 in Baylor’s last five trips to West Virginia. Look for this one to go over the total.
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A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is a freelance sports writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has previously worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.