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It’s a quarterfinal matchup in the Big 12 Tournament in the Show Me State. The 10th-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers battle the second-seeded #7 Texas Tech Red Raiders with a berth in the semifinals on the line Thursday night. West Virginia advanced by defeating seventh-seeded Oklahoma 72-71 in the opening round of the tournament Wednesday night. Texas Tech dropped Iowa State 80-73 on the road in their regular season finale Saturday. The Mountaineers lead the all-time series 12-5 but the Red Raiders took both meetings this season, including an 81-50 home win in the most recent matchup February 4.
West Virginia Mountaineers Look to Upend Red Raiders, Throw Conference Tournament Into Chaos
West Virginia survived a wild ending when Christian James’ buzzer-beating three-pointer that would have forced overtime was ruled a two as his foot was on the line. The Mountaineers improved to 13-19 on the season with the victory. West Virginia trailed by two at the half, led by as many as six in the second half and then hung on to scrape out the win. The Mountaineers shot 38 percent from the field, including nine of 30 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 46-36 in the game. Lamont West led West Virginia with 15 points in the win.
— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) March 14, 2019
The Mountaineers average 72.9 points per game on the offensive end of the floor this season. West Virginia pulls down an average of 39.4 rebounds per contest and dishes out 13.1 assists a night. The Mountaineers are below average defensively as they are 305th in scoring defense by allowing 76.6 points per contest. Sagaba Konate is the team’s leading scorer with 13.6 points, eight rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game but played just eight contests this season. He’s been out since December 8 with a knee injury. Derek Culver (11.9 points, 10.2 rebounds) and Lamont West (10.5 points, four rebounds) are each averaging in double figures. Wesley Harris, Jordan McCabe, Chase Harler, Brandon Knapper and Jermaine Haley each put up at least 4.9 points a game. West Virginia shoots 41.4 percent from the field as a team this season. The Mountaineers shoot 31.7 percent from beyond the arc and knocks down 7.5 triples per game. West Virginia is subpar at the free throw line as they shoot 68.1 percent as a team this season at the stripe.
Texas Tech Red Raiders Shoot for 10th Straight Win
Texas Tech won their ninth in a row as they went on the road and took care of business against Iowa State. The Red Raiders finished the regular season 26-5 overall and 14-4 in the Big 12, tied with Kansas State for a share of the regular season title. Texas Tech trailed by a bucket at the half and found itself tied at 65 with 4:04 to play. The Red Raiders reeled off a 7-0 run over the next 2:05 and didn’t let the Cyclones closer than three after that to get the win. Texas Tech shot 43.1 percent from the field, including 11 of 26 from three-point range, and forced 14 Iowa State turnovers in the contest. Jarrett Culver poured in 31 points to lead the Red Raiders in the victory.
9️⃣ in a row to crown us as Big 1️⃣2️⃣ Champions.
— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) March 9, 2019
The Red Raiders are averaging 73.1 points per game on the offensive end of the floor this season. Texas Tech is pulling down 34.4 boards a night while dishing out 14.2 assists per contest. The Red Raiders are stifling on the defensive end of the floor, ranking second in the nation by allowing 58.6 points a night. Jarrett Culver leads the team with 18.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest. Matt Mooney (10.9 points, 3.3 assists) and Davide Moretti (11.6 points) each contribute in double figures. Tariq Owens, Kyler Edwards, Brandone Francis, Deshawn Corprew and Norense Odiase each chip in at least 4.1 points a night for the Red Raiders. Texas Tech is shooting 47.2 percent from the floor this season. The Red Raiders splash 7.3 threes a night while shooting 36.9 percent from beyond the arc. Texas Tech has to improve at the free throw line as they knock down 72.3 percent of their chances this season.
- Red Raiders are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall
- Red Raiders are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 vs. Big 12 foes
- Red Raiders are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up win
- Mountaineers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS win
- Mountaineers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games
- Mountaineers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
It’s extremely tough to get acclimated to playing on back to back days for college teams as outside of early season tournaments and conference tournaments, it’s not something you run across. Throw in that you’re running into a buzzsaw like Texas Tech and things get that much bleaker. The Red Raiders have nine straight wins coming into this contest and they are the second-best team in scoring defense in the nation behind Virginia. Culver is playing terrific basketball and there are solid secondary options behind him. Texas Tech is a scary team and they slice and dice their way to the semifinals by prevailing here.
Prediction: Texas Tech Red Raiders
Full-Game Total Pick
West Virginia has the steepest of uphill climbs in this one as they face a Texas Tech team that is death to opposing offenses. The Mountaineers struggle enough on that end of the floor as it stands this season, ranking 165th in scoring offense, 315th in field goal percentage and 306th in three-point percentage. Not only does West Virginia have to score against a Texas Tech team that is second in scoring defense and first in field goal percentage defense (36.8 percent) in addition to being 16th in three-point field goal percentage defense (29.9 percent), they have to defend against them. The Red Raiders are 46th in field goal percentage and 65th in three-point percentage offensively: can West Virginia’s porous defense (270th in field goal percentage defense, 273rd in three-point field goal percentage defense) force enough turnovers to keep them in it?
The under is 4-1 in the Mountaineers’ last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record. Texas Tech has seen the under go 4-1 in their last 5 neutral site games and 8-3 in their last 11 on Thursday. The teams have stayed under the total in four of their last five meetings. You can’t rely on the Mountaineers to do much here and the Red Raiders will be happy to grind the clock with a comfortable lead, keeping this one under the total.