Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#647 West Virginia -4 vs.
#648 St. John's 151
Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 12:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes



#647 West Virginia University
#648 St. John's University


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West Virginia takes on St. John's in a battle between former Big East rivals from Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Mountaineers played in the Big East from 1979-2013 before moving to the Big 12. The Mountaineers, under legendary coach Bob Huggins, are off to a 7-0 start, though this could be their toughest challenge. The Red Storm, under former Arkansas and Missouri coach Mike Anderson, have own three straight.

Mountaineers are back

West Virginia is still not in the AP Top 25, having received 28 votes this past week. Maybe that's because they finished a disappointing 15-21 last season (4-14 B12). Or the fact that they weren't really tested. Beating rival Pittsburgh on the road (68-53) on Nov. 15 was impressive, though they were a 2.5-point favorite.

Huggins' squad had a little more trouble with Rhode Island on Dec. 1 in an 86-81 win over the Rams at home. Sophomore forward Derek Culver scored 25 points and grabbed 11 boards to lead West Virginia, while senior wing Jermaine Haley added 18 points and five boards.

Haley and freshman Oscar Tshiebwe (9.7 rebounds) lead the Mountaineers with 12.3 points per game, while Culver adds 11.1 points and 8.3 rebounds. This is a very balanced squad with four players averaging from 12.3 to 10.6 points per game.

On the season, West Virginia is averaging 74.4 points on 43% shooting (30.9% 3pt). They are allowing 63 points on 37% shooting (28.4% 3pt).

St. John's take care of Peacocks

St. John's took care of local squad Saint Peter's (from Jersey City), 79-69 from Carnesecca Arena. The Red Storm were up by 25 points with around eight minutes left before the Peacocks cut the deficit to six with about a minute left. The 7-2 Red Storm were led by LJ Figueroa, who had 19 points and six boards, while Musthapha Heron added 17 points. Heron (6-5, 195) is averaging 15.2 points on 43.4% shooting (50% 3pt), while Figueroa (6-6, 195) adds 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds.

What nearly cost St. John's the lead against Saint Peter's was 18 turnovers, though St. John's forced 18 turnovers as well. Forcing turnovers is what Anderson wants to see in his "40 minutes of hell" defense.

The Red Storm are outrebounding opponents by 3.7, while West Virginia is outrebounding teams by 8.1 so that is a concern in this game. St. John's is averaging 81.1 points, while allowing 67.2 points on 37.7% shooting (31.3% 3pt). Neither squad is a strong three-point shooting team (30.9% WV, 35.6% SJ). St. John's is forcing 17.8 turnovers, but they are committing 13.7.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


I think St. John's is a year or two away under Anderson. This is the same team that lost to Vermont at home and Arizona State took it to them on Nov. 23. West Virginia is trying to prove they are legit and while they might not be a Final Four contender, they are back to playing basketball the way Huggins wants them to. That's tough defense and annihilating people on the boards. They are going to dominate the Red Storm on the boards in this matchup. A win here could put them back in the top 25.

Prediction: West Virginia -3.5

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


West Virginia and St. John's will press early and often. The Mountaineers have gone over in two straight, while the Red Storm have gone over in just three of six. They scored just 67 against Arizona State, but the total was 158. St. John's averages 81.1 points per game on 43.6% shooting, so they depend on forcing turnovers and fastbreak points to win. West Virginia turns the ball over 13.1 times per game they're facing a team that averages 9.2 steals per contest.

Prediction: Over 150.5

Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!