Monday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: Texas-West Virginia, Bethune Cookman-Norfolk State (Feb. 24, 2020)
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images. Pictured: Courtney Ramey
- Monday's college basketball slate is light, but we've got picks on two games and updated odds for the entire night on our live lines page.
- Mike Randle tackles West Virginia vs. Texas as the Mountaineers look to end a road losing streak. He also covers Norfolk State at Bethune Cookman, where the Spartans will look to keep pace for the MEAC regular season title.
- Get his best bets on both college basketball games below.
College basketball’s “Big Monday” brings us two critical conference games, one that could determine a regular season champion.
First, we see if West Virginia can end its five-game road losing streak when the Mountaineers visit Texas.
Next, we examine whether Norfolk State can earn a road win at Bethune Cookman and join North Carolina A&T atop the MEAC standings.
Monday College Basketball Odds & Picks
Texas vs. West Virginia
- Spread: WVU -5 [In WV? Bet Now]
- Over/Under: 125.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPNU
Texas (16-11) has been one of the biggest disappointments in college basketball after a fourth-place preseason prediction. The Longhorns have won their last two games (against conference bottom feeders TCU and Kansas State) following four straight losses. They are 11-16 against the spread but only 2-4 in their last six home contests.
West Virginia (19-8) is in desperate need of a win, having lost four of their last five games. The Mountaineers have lost five consecutive Big 12 road games, including Saturday’s overtime loss at TCU. They are 14-13 ATS but have failed to cover five consecutive games away from Morgantown.
The Longhorns have played poorly and are now shorthanded. Junior forward Jericho Sims (9.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg) is likely out for the season with a back injury.
This will leave a huge hole in the Longhorns’ frontcourt against West Virginia’s dominant bigs. In conference play, Texas ranks ninth in offensive rebounding and dead-last in defensive rebounding. That includes 11 conference games with Sims.
West Virginia will bring the top offensive and defensive rebounding percentages in Big 12 play, which will force Texas to increase their attempts from beyond the arc. The Longhorns generate 37.2% of their points from 3P, which ranks 28th most in the nation.
The problem? West Virginia is the fourth-best team at defending the 3P, allowing their opponents a microscopic 27.9% from deep.
Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers have certainly struggled recently, but their last three losses have come against stronger offensive rebounding teams in TCU (36th), Baylor (seventh), and Kansas (66th). Their massive advantage over Texas played a large part in their big 97-59 win over the Longhorns on Jan. 20. West Virginia outrebounded the Longhorns 53-25 in that game.
The Mountaineers will lean heavily on forwards Oscar Tshiebwe (11.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and Derek Culver (10.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg) to dominate the Longhorns near the basket on both ends of the court.
I’m banking on West Virginia to earn a much-needed Big 12 road win against a Texas team that lost by 38 in the prior matchup and now is without Sims.
The Pick: West Virginia -5
Bethune Cookman vs. Norfolk State
- Spread: Norfolk State -1
- Over/Under: 140.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Bethune Cookman (14-13) sits at 8-5 and tied for fifth place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. It’s won three of the last four games, including Saturday’s 69-65 overtime home win over South Carolina State. The Wildcats are 11-13 ATS but have failed to cover their last three consecutive games.
Norfolk State (13-14) is 9-3 in MEAC play and is just one-half game behind North Carolina A&T for first place. The Spartans are looking to defend their regular-season title from last season when they won the conference with a 14-2 record. They are 13-10 ATS including 2-2 in their last four games.
The Spartans’ offense has been the class of the MEAC, ranking first in adjusted offensive efficiency and 3P%. They also rank third in the conference in offensive rebounding and second in team free throw percentage. They are led by a trio of scoring guards in Jermaine Bishop (14.6 ppg, 38.3% 3P), Joe Bryant Jr. (12.4 ppg), and Steven Whitley (10.3 ppg).
Bethune Cookman meanwhile struggles to score on a consistent basis with just a 45.5% team average from inside the arc (321st overall). Senior forward Cletrell Pope (13.9 ppg, 11.5 rpg) can be dominant inside but is also susceptible to foul trouble. The 6-foot-9 forward has averaged 3.7 fouls per game this season.
The motivation is strong for Norfolk State as its four remaining games are all against teams outside the top four in the MEAC standings. With North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central scheduled to play each other the last week of the season, the Spartans are in prime position to grab at least a share of the regular-season MEAC title if it wins out.
I’m laying the small number with Norfolk State on the road against Bethune Cookman.
The Pick: Norfolk State -1