Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia College Basketball Odds & Pick: Fade Cowboys With Cunningham & Likekele Out
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured:
- Bob Huggins and the West Virginia Mountaineers will take on Mike Boynton and the potentially shorthanded Oklahoma State Cowboys in a Big 12 battle on Saturday.
- The Cowboys have impressed of late, but the Mountaineers have been on a roll seemingly all season.
- Check out Mike Randle's full betting guide complete with updated odds and a pick below.
Editor's Note: It was announced Saturday morning that Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham and Isaac Likekele will miss Saturday's game against West Virginia.
Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia Odds
There are few college basketball players who have been as exciting as Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham.
The 6-foot-8 freshman has delivered multiple elite performances in guiding the Cowboys to a 17-7 overall record, including 10-7 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma State just ended a five-game winning streak with a close loss at Baylor, and the Cowboys are an incredible 4-0 in overtime games.
West Virginia has enjoyed an even more impressive season, sitting at 18-7 overall, including 11-5 in the conference. Head coach Bob Huggins’ team is in sole possession of second place in the Big 12 and has won seven of its past nine games.
Who should bettors back in this fantastic meeting of two top-20 teams in Morgantown?
The main concern for Oklahoma State in this game is health.
The Cowboys have played without lead point guard Isaac Likekele for most of February. Likekele has been dealing with a foot injury but did play the majority of the Cowboys' 74-69 OT win over Texas Tech last Monday. He was very limited, with just one field goal attempt and two points in 33 minutes.
Even more of a concern is the ankle injury suffered by Cunningham at the end of the Pokes' recent loss to Baylor. Cunningham is questionable for Saturday's game, per Stadium's Jeff Goodman.
Cade Cunningham update, per source:
Sprained ankle. Will receive treatment today and will re-evaluate tonight/tomorrow. Questionable tomorrow at West Virginia.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 5, 2021
Those injuries are crucial for an Oklahoma State team that plays at the fastest pace in the Big 12. The Cowboys are also 285th in offensive turnover percentage, which is already a huge concern against West Virginia’s pressure defense.
The Mountaineers are near the top of the conference in defensive turnover percentage and have forced an average of 15.3 turnovers in their past three home games.
West Virginia features a cadre of guards who can all play defense and shoot 3-pointers with high efficiency.
Sophomore Miles McBride (15.4 PPG, 42.6% 3P) has raised his game considerably and is the Mountaineers' scorer in late-game situations. Taz Sherman (13.1 PPG, 35% 3P), Sean McNeil (12.1 PPG, 39.2% 3P), and senior Gabe Osabuohien (4.5 RPG, 1.4 SPG) all contribute to the up-tempo style that is so effective for Huggins’ crew.
In their first meeting, the Cowboys actually controlled the majority of the game behind Cunningham’s 25 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. But the Mountaineers made a frenetic comeback on the back of 37.5% (9-of-24) shooting from 3-point range and a mind-blowing 22 offensive rebounds.
Oklahoma State struggled to contain West Virginia big man Derek Culver, who finished with 22 points, 19 rebounds (seven offensive), and two blocks. The Cowboys will need to limit the Mountaineers on the backboards, despite ranking just 227th in defensive rebounding percentage.
Oklahoma State has been an impressive 14-9-1 ATS, including an impressive 7-3-1 on the road. It has covered five straight games, including at Baylor on Thursday night.
However, it would be a completely different team without both Likekele and Cunningham, and I don’t see the motivation for the Cowboys to play either in a game that has minimal impact on the upcoming Big 12 Tournament.
West Virginia will have its Senior Day for both Sherman and Osabuohien, providing them with more motivation for a strong effort.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This pick is based solely on Cunningham missing this game or playing with limited effectiveness. The ankle injury was less than 48 hours prior to this tip-off, and the opening line of West Virginia -7 seems high.
I grabbed the Mountaineers -7 on the basis of a limited Cowboys roster that is likely without Cunningham. If he is indeed out, I would bet this line up to West Virginia -9.5. If Cunningham plays, I would only back West Virginia up to -7.5.
Pick: West Virginia -7 (up to -7.5 if Cunningham plays).