College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for West Virginia vs. Iowa State (Wednesday, February 23)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Izaiah Brockington.
- The West Virginia Mountaineers travel to Ames to face the Iowa State Hawkeyes.
- The Mountaineers are 5-point underdogs as they look for the season sweep of the Cyclones.
- Our analyst breaks down the matchup and shares his prediction and pick below.
West Virginia vs. Iowa State Odds
|West Virginia Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Iowa State Odds|
-110o / -110u
The dog days of February are dwindling and so are the opportunities for teams to build momentum heading into March. The West Virginia Mountaineers and the Iowa State Cyclones are both in the business of getting hot for the Big 12 conference tournament, but the wave will have to start with this matchup at the other’s expense.
West Virginia desperately needs a good performance as the Mountaineers have lost 12 of their last 13 games. The lone win came against Iowa State, interestingly enough. The first meeting between these two teams seemed to be the last time that everything clicked for the Mountaineers. Can they make lightning strike twice in Ames?
It has been a different story for the Cyclones since the last time these teams met, as they have won two of their previous three games by way of stellar defensive performances. However, their defense will again be tested as Iowa State surrendered 79 points in the first meeting. This contest will be decided by whether the Cyclones can make the necessary adjustments.
Expect West Virginia to Play Through Sherman
If you have watched any West Virginia basketball this season, you surely will have heard of Taz Sherman. The senior guard is the guy who makes this entire Mountaineers offense click. Sherman leads the team with over 18 points per game and has an incredible usage rate of over 28 percent. However, if West Virginia wants to sweep the season series, Sherman will have to play a similar role to the one he played in the first meeting.
Every West Virginia opponent is well aware of Sherman’s ability and is forced to key in on him. The Cyclones did just that in the first meeting, but Sherman showed another tool in his arsenal that he does not flash often. He had a season-high six assists in that contest and was able to get multiple teammates involved, which not only supplemented but enhanced the team’s scoring.
The offense ran through Sherman because of his passing ability, and while he did score in double-figures, we also saw Sean McNeil, Jalen Bridges, and Malik Curry join him with 10 or more points. This was one of the Mountaineers’ most efficient offensive performances all season, and it would be wise for the Mountaineers to try and replicate it.
Cyclones Must Get Brockington Going Early
Just as the Cyclones keyed in on Taz Sherman, the Mountaineers turned their attention to Iowa State’s leading scorer Izaiah Brockington in the first meeting. Brockington usually averages over 17 points per game on 48 percent shooting but was held in check as he only posted 11 points on 33 percent shooting.
Luckily for Iowa State, Tyrese Hunter stepped up and poured in 22 points of his own, but Brockington’s poor performance clearly hindered the offense, as, without Hunter, they likely would have been blown out.
Brockington’s performance is directly correlated to the Cyclones winning and losing. The Cyclones have won nearly every game where he has posted 20 or more points. If Iowa State avenges its defeat, Brockington must get going early and often. He is a player who thrives in the mid-range and can be deadly if given any space. Look for him to get open off of screens and pull up anytime he is given space off the pick and roll.
West Virginia vs. Iowa State Betting Pick
While West Virginia played a very efficient and effective style of offense in the first meeting, their stretch of losses that proceeded it shows that it was an outlier type of performance. The first meeting was not only an outlier for the West Virginia offense but also for Iowa State’s defense.
The Cyclones are not seventh in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency for nothing. Expect them to adjust and slow down the Mountaineers. Take the Cyclones to get the job done at home.