Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#805 West Virginia vs.
#806 Portland State
Friday, November 25, 2022 at 11:59pm EST
Written by Mark Ruelle

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The West Virginia Mountaineers will battle it out with the Portland State Vikings in the loser's bracket of the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament on Friday. West Virginia fell to 4-1 on the season with an 80 - 68 loss to the Purdue Boilermakers on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Vikings fell convincingly to a recharged Gonzaga squad, 102-78. Both teams will look to get back on track when they square off tonight. The opening tap is scheduled for 12:00am EST.

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Need to Streak Again

After opening the season at 4-0 and exhibiting many of the traits of a good Bob Huggins'-led basketball teams, West Virginia ran into a determined and big Purdue squad on Thursday night and fell 80-68 in the opening round of the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament. They continued to display the grit that Huggins' longs for, however, as the Mountaineers came back from multiple double-digit scores but ultimately ran out of steam. Erik Stevenson led the Mountaineers with 17 points and Joe Toussaint added 16 points off the bench. They were out-rebounded slightly by the bigger Boilermakers 34-32 and could not get their long range shots to fall.

“We were 4-0 because we were better,” West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said. “We still didn’t execute. We turned the ball over at a very alarming rate and we refused to rebound it.”

West Virginia did exhibit the things that make them tough to beat in their loss on Thursday. They forced 18 Purdue turnovers in the game, which falls in line with their season thus far as the Mountaineers have +7 turnover differential. They were out-rebounded but scrapped despite the size difference. The Mountaineers have shot the ball relatively well from long range thus far at 37% but hit just 22.7% of their attempts on Thursday night, 5-of-22. They will need to knock down more shots and continue to disrupt plays in the passing lane against Portland State.


Vikings Buried

Portland State had the misfortune of getting run over by a Gonzaga team on Thursday night that looks to be regaining their swagger. The Vikings fell to 2-3 on the season with the one-sided 102-78 loss to the 6th ranked Bulldogs. Portland only trailed 18-16 midway through the first half before the wheels came off. Gonzaga would go on to score 32 of the game's next 41 points to build a 27-point halftime lead that they would never relinquish. Jorell Saterfield led the Vikings with 21 points in the game and Cameron Parker added 16 points. It was a disappointing loss for a Vikings team that had just upended Oregon State one game earlier.

“They're very good at exposing the defensive mistakes and that’s kind of what happened in the first half. ... They went on their run and it was tough to recover for our guys," Portland State coach Jace Coburn said.

It will be back to the drawing board for Portland State defensively after being blitzed by Gonzaga, allowing the Bulldogs to shoot 60% from the field overall, including 66% in the first half. The Vikings did shoot the ball well from 3pt range, hitting on 44% of their three-point field goals for the game. They will need to respond quickly as they now square off against a West Virginia team that is coming off their first loss of the year.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


When West Virginia truly embodies the Bob Huggins' style of play, they are not a team that you want to play after they've had an off-night. West Virginia looks the part of a true Bob Huggins team this year and they are coming into this game after a poor performance against a good, but not great Purdue team. You can be sure that Huggins' got his point across to his team about turnovers, knocking down open looks and getting after it on the glass. Portland State looked sharp two games ago in an upset of Oregon State but the talent gap caught up to them in their loss to Gonzaga. Now they are about to play one of the more defensively aggressive teams in college basketball that comes in with a chip on their shoulder. Look for West Virginia to use their depth and athleticism to overwhelm the Vikings, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. I also fully expect the Mountaineers to shoot better from long range and defend the 3-ball better.

Take West Virginia -15.

Prediction: West Virginia -15

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


Rest assured that the pace of play in this game will be dominated by West Virginia. The Mountaineers have an offense that ranks 51st in efficiency thus far in the season and a defense that sits at 38th in the nation. They want to play this game physically, both on the perimeter and in the paint and, this year, Huggins has the kind of depth that allows his teams to do just that. Portland State comes in after a deceptively strong shooting night from long range, 44%, against a Gonzaga team that had a near-30 point lead. They will not have that success against West Virginia and they will not get to play at a pace that they would like. West Virginia plays at one of the slower paces in the country, 208th, and that will continue in this spot.

Take the under, 147.5 points.

Prediction: Under 147.5

Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.