West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Pick
West Virginia Mountaineers (13-5 SU, 9-9 ATS) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-5 SU, 7-12 ATS)
When: Tuesday, February 9, 9 p.m.
Where: United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock, Texas
Point Spread: WVU +5/TTU -5 (MyBookie - Bankroll Booster! Deposit $100 to $300 and get a 100% real cash bonus when you use bonus code PREDICT100)
Last Time Out:
West Virginia handled Kansas 91-79; Texas Tech defeated Kansas State 73-62.
About the Matchup:
If the second matchup between West Virginia and Texas Tech is as good as the first one, we’re in for a great show. The Mountaineers just barely survived when Miles McBride hit a jumper with six seconds to go, giving West Virginia an 88-87 win over the ordinarily defensive-minded Red Raiders. Texas Tech wasn’t even close to its usual defensive effort in Morgantown, as the Mountaineers shot 63 percent from behind the arc to outlast the Red Raiders.
Since that game, Texas Tech has gotten back to what it does best, as the Red Raiders recently held Oklahoma to a mere 52 points. But the Mountaineers are firing on all cylinders right now, as they just dropped 91 points on Kansas. However, west Texas hasn’t been a friendly place for West Virginia; the Mountaineers have come up short on each of their past four trips to Lubbock.
Scouting the Mountaineers:
If there’s a West Virginia basket, there’s a good chance that Miles McBridge is involved in some way. McBride has either scored or assisted on 44 percent of the Mountaineers’ baskets, and he’s a big reason why West Virginia has won four straight in the league. Against Kansas, McBride scored 29 points to lead the Mountaineers and ended up with more steals (3) than turnovers (2).
It certainly hasn’t hurt that Taz Sherman has stepped up his game in recent weeks, as McBride’s backcourt mate scored 25 against Kansas after going for 18 against Iowa State. That’s an essen-tial addition to the equation for the Mountaineers because depth is not a strength that West Virginia has. In its win over Kansas, the Mountaineer bench scored a grand total of three points in a game that saw West Virginia score 91 points.
Scouting the Red Raiders:
Texas Tech doesn’t want to see 87 points on the scoreboard again. The Red Raiders are more comfortable when there are closer to 87 points in the game total, but in order to make that happen, they’ve got to defend the arc a lot better than they did in Morgantown.
They’ve also got to get more out of their offensive weapons besides Mac McClung. In the first game, McClung scored 30 points, in large part because the Mountaineers decided that they were just fine with letting him take over the game and try to do too much. Truthfully, that’s been McClung’s biggest weakness, as he occasionally reverts to his Georgetown days and tries to take over the game rather than trusting the players around him. To get this game where they want it, the Red Raiders have to slow this game down and limit the number of shots. If the Red Raiders have to take 73 shots again, this won’t end well.
Defense. Both of these teams pride themselves on the defensive end of the floor, and both tend to have different ways to get to their ends. Texas Tech’s success is based on denying good looks at the basket, while West Virginia’s is based on forcing turnovers. Neither team did its job in Morgantown, as West Virginia shot a ridiculous percentage from behind the arc and Texas Tech committed just two turnovers in the entire game.
West Virginia can handle playing in a way that favors offense, but Texas Tech really isn’t meant to play a faster game. Whichever team can play in a way that’s more advantageous to its means in this game will have a considerable edge.
West Virginia will Cover If:
The Mountaineers can defend the other four Texas Tech players and force McClung to try to do too much. West Virginia’s best chance to win this game is to use McClung’s tendencies against him and force him to take too many shots. Forcing the Red Raid-ers to turn the ball over didn’t work in Morgantown, but forcing bad shots can and probably will work again.
Texas Tech will Cover If:
The Red Raiders can defend the arc better than they did in the first game. The fact that Texas Tech only lost by one in a game where the Red Raiders allowed a team to shoot 63 percent from behind the arc says a lot about the offense, but that’s not some-thing the Red Raiders can or want to repeat. Defense is the way that they can win this game.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Close games are just what Texas Tech does, and giving points with the Red Raiders is just not something that tends to work out for bettors. Texas Tech is the kind of team that does just enough to earn the win, not the kind of team that cruises to comfortable wins.
There’s a reason that the Red Raiders are 1-7 ATS as a favorite in conference games this sea-son. Now’s not the time to test that trend. Give me the Mountaineers. Bet your WVU/TT pick LIVE in-progress at the best live wagering platform on the planet —> Bovada Sportsbook! They’ll give you a 50% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 as well!