CBB Picks: West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State
West Virginia Mountaineers (8-3 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-2 SU, 4-4-1 ATS)
When: Monday, January 4, 9 p.m.
Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Okla.
Point Spread: WVU 0/OKST 0 (Best Odds - Why bet on games at -110 when you could be laying -105 Stop wasting your hard earned cash!)
Last Time Out:
West Virginia lost 75-71 to Oklahoma; Oklahoma State handled Texas Tech 82-77.
About the Matchup:
One of the early favorites in the Big 12 goes up against an up-and-coming squad that’s starting to look like it might be a factor in this league. For West Virginia, as is usually the case for a team coached by Bob Huggins, the defense has been the name of the game. The Mountaineers have found 71 to be their magic number this season, as they’re a perfect 8-0 when they keep the opponent below that total.
But in Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers might have a hard time hitting that number because the Cowboys have proven themselves to be a quality offensive outfit in 2020. Only Marquette and Wichita State have kept the Cowboys below 75 points this season, in large part because they excel at getting to the free-throw line and hitting their foul shots. Only Texas Tech gets to the stripe more than the Cowboys among Big 12 teams, which could be the edge they need against West Virginia’s aggressive defense.
Scouting the Mountaineers:
If you’ve seen West Virginia play in 2020-21, it might surprise you to learn that West Virginia has actually cracked the 80-point mark on two occasions this season (and one of those was their first loss of the season, against Gonzaga). For most of the season, the Mountaineers haven’t been able to shoot the ball all that well, and the loss at Oklahoma was no exception, as West Virginia only shot 40 percent for the game. What really had to fry Bob Huggins was that West Virginia shot 58 percent from deep, meaning that the team shot a putrid 10-for-36 from inside the arc.
That can’t happen again, especially with Oscar Tshiebwe no longer part of the problem. Derek Culver needs to be dominant down low, and he simply wasn’t against Oklahoma. He ended the game with a mere four points, well below his season average. West Virginia really doesn’t have the scoring needed to withstand one of their best players having an off-night, so Culver really has to get going in the paint. But that could be tough against an Oklahoma State squad that’s second in the Big 12 only to Texas in defensive rebounds per game. If Culver isn’t strong down low, Jalen Bridges will have to get hot from outside again.
Scouting the Cowboys:
Going freshman-heavy hasn’t worked at traditional one-and-done Kentucky and Duke in 2020, but Oklahoma State is getting solid production out of its freshmen. Cade Cunningham has proven himself to be every bit worthy of the hype of being the likely No. 1 draft pick in this year’s NBA draft, but the Cowboys have some talent beyond him. Avery Anderson has proven an adept 3-point shooter, while Isaac Likekele rebounds the ball better than a lot of forwards, allowing the Cowboys to consistently limit opponents to one shot per trip.
But it’s Cunningham who really makes the Cowboys go, and unlike other top picks, it appears that he’s got a reasonable shot at making the NCAA tournament. However, he does have to be more willing to take what the defense is willing to give him. In the past four games, he’s kept getting his points, but he’s shot 37 percent or worse in three of those four games. Shooting 25 percent, as he did against Texas Tech, isn’t going to get things done.
Quick turnaround. Because it’s off an island compared to the rest of the Big 12, West Virginia often plays back-to-back road games in the same location, such as getting both Oklahoma schools out of the way on one trip. While that helps the bottom line, it could backfire hard here on the court, given how the game with the Sooners went. West Virginia had to try to overcome an 18-point halftime deficit against Oklahoma, and the Mountaineers might very well have used up all of their energy in that game. When tipoff comes in Stillwater, it’ll be just over 51 hours since their last game, and with this being far from a typical year, it’s anyone’s guess as to how much energy West Virginia has left on this road trip.
West Virginia will Cover If:
The Mountaineers can throw the Cowboys out of their rhythm at the offensive end. There’s no secret as to what West Virginia is going to do: Bob Huggins’ teams live on making their opponents’ lives miserable. The Mountaineers have to make sure that they defend a lot better than they did at Kansas and actually get in the way of Oklahoma State’s shooters. Another 75-point performance by the opponent will not cut it.
Oklahoma State will Cover If:
The Cowboys can get to the free-throw line early and often. Oklahoma State has four top players out of six who shoot better than 75 percent from the stripe, and the Cowboys often close out games by getting the ball in the hands of someone who can ice the game for them. If Oklahoma State can use West Virginia’s aggressive defense against it, this game is there for the Cowboys to win.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Here’s something you might not know: of West Virginia’s five overs this season, four have come when they’ve left Morgantown, including all three of their true road games (Oklahoma, Kansas, and Georgetown. As you might expect, given their style, the Mountaineers haven’t covered in any of them.
Given that and the fact that Oklahoma State just played and beat Texas Tech’s defense in Lubbock, the Cowboys shouldn’t be scared of this game. Expect scoring here and expect Oklahoma State to control the tempo and land the victory. Bet your college hoops picks FREE this week by taking advantage of a 50% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500! Credit cards work for deposits, you get a rebate on ALL your bets; win, lose or draw and FAST hassle-free payouts! Find all this and more at Bovada Sportsbook! They also have the best live betting platform!
Get $60 of FREE member picks & predictions
(NO commitments. NO Credit Card. NO Salesman.)