Betting Big Monday: A Closer Look at West Virginia-Oklahoma
© Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
I’m still riding the high of that epic Super Bowl, but there are no days off in the betting world. Unless you are currently burning down the city of Philadelphia, it’s now all about the card on Monday. I figured @jorcubsdan deserved a night off after writing so much over the past week, so I wrote a quick preview about the only true marquee game — West Virginia at Oklahoma (-2) — on a very depressing Monday college hoops slate..
Speaking of Jordan, he previously wrote a fantastic article about the defensive blueprint that West Virginia provided the rest of the Big 12 on how to defend phenom Trae Young, who incredibly still leads the nation in both points (29.8) and assists (9.7). In their first matchup, the Mountaineers smothered Young right from the opening tip in front of a raucous Morgantown primetime crowd en route to a 89-77 victory. Young still scored 29 points, but the Mountaineers held him to 8-22 shooting (3-12 from beyond the arc) with eight turnovers (and only five assists). Do not sleep on the impact of the location of that first game. West Virginia owns one of the best home-court advantages in the country and their style of play is especially beneficial in Morgantown. They got away with a number of criminal assaults against OU a few Saturdays ago.
Before putting up 89 points in their most impressive offensive showing of the year, a 39-point home blowout of Kansas State on Saturday, the ‘Neers lost three straight, mainly as a result of their stagnant offense. They run terrible motion and simply can not shoot. Those problems still exist.
From a pure matchup perspective, the Mountaineers have a clear edge. They have one of the best defensive guards in the country in Jevon Carter. They also excel in defending in transition and pick-and-rolls, two necessities against Lon Kruger’s offense. Even the horribly inefficient half-court offense of WVU should score plenty of easy buckets against a similarly inefficient Oklahoma defense. That allows the Mountaineers to set up their ferocious press. It’s a vicious circle. And Trae Young & Co. will certainly turn it over.
Yet from a situational perspective, Oklahoma has an enormous advantage. The Sooners are not only coming off of a loss, but they have revenge on their mind in Norman, where Young should get a majority of the calls (something he didn’t benefit from in the first meeting). I wouldn’t be shocked to see Young shoot 20-plus free throws. I tweeted a month ago in jest that I would take Trae Young as a home dog against the Warriors, so you know I’m laying two in this Big Monday showdown.
The PICK: Oklahoma -2