West Virginia Mountaineers (14-2 SU, 7-4 ATS, 6-4 O/U) at Texas Longhorns (7-9 SU, 8-7 ATS, 5-10 O/U)
When and Where: Saturday, Jan. 14, Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Tx., 4pmET
Line: West Virginia -10
No. 9 West Virginia has to be sky-high after crushing No. 1 Baylor on Tuesday at home, 89-68. Texas is just hoping for a win and a chance to get back to .500. They fell at home to TCU, 64-61 on Wednesday. Last season, Texas beat West Virginia twice, including an 85-78 win at home on Feb. 16.
Pressure defense buries Baylor
West Virginia pressed Baylor as soon as they stepped on the floor on Tuesday and the Bears handled it poorly. That’s an understatement because they turned it over 29 times! That was the most turnover forced by West Virginia since they joined the Big 12. Nathan Adrian scored 22 points and three steals, while guard Jevon Carter had 17 points, five steals and seven assists. The Mountaineers shot 47.8 percent from the floor and 9-of-20 from beyond the arc.
The Mountaineers lead the nation in turnovers forced with 24.6 per game. The next-highest team forces 19 turnovers per game. They average 90.1 points per game to rank ninth in the nation and shoot 48.6 percent from the field (26th). They allow just 61.8 points per game (14th) and 40.7 percent from the field. Forward Esa Ahmad leads four players in double figures with 12.6 points and 54 percent shooting from the field. Carter adds 10.9 points and 3.3 steals per game.
Horns can’t get over the hump
TCU didn’t exactly play like a potential NCAA Tournament team on Wednesday night from Austin. But they did enough to beat a Texas team that fell to 1-3 in the Big 12. Freshman forward Jarrett Allen led Texas with 18 points and nine rebounds on 8-of-14 shooting. He was the only Texas player to score in double figures. The Longhorns shot 42.9 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 16 times. TCU shot 44.8 percent from the floor and shot 6-of-24 (25%) from three-point range, while turning the ball over 16 times.
Tevin Mack leads the Horns with 14.8 points per game, while Allen leads in rebounds with 7.8 per game. However, Mack has been suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Texas averages 69.8 points per game and 43.9 percent from the field. They allow 67.1 points per game and 40.6 percent from the field (30% 3pt).
College Basketball Trends:
West Virginia is:
- 13-6 ATS last 19 overall.
- 8-3 ATS last 11 vs. Big 12.
- Underdog is 1-5 ATS last 6 in series.
Tough to go with the home dog here. Texas had been playing poorly with Mack, a 6-7 wing. Now they are playing without their leading scorer against the top pressing team in the nation. Bob Huggins won’t have sympathy for Shaka Smart’s team in this game.
Pick: West Virginia -10
Tough call on the total without Mack. Maybe Shaka Smart speeds up the tempo against the Mountaineers because how else will they score? They really don’t know how to play any other way, but it won’t matter. These teams have gone under in four of the last five games. Texas is 13-6-1 Under their last 20 overall.