Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia Big 12 Tournament Odds & Pick: Take the Cowboys’ Moneyline (Thursday, March 11)
William Purnell/Getty Images. Pictured: Cade Cunningham.
- Oklahoma State looks to beat West Virginia for the second time in the past week on Thursday in the Big 12 Tournament.
- The Cowboys won on Saturday without star Cade Cunningham, who is going to return for this game.
- BJ Cunningham breaks down why he's backing the Oklahoma State moneyline at a plus number in Kansas City.
Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia Odds
|+135 / -160|
Oklahoma State and West Virginia will meet for the second time in less than a week after the Cowboys pulled off a shocking upset in Morgantown on Saturday without their star player Cade Cunningham.
Oklahoma State is one of the hottest teams in the country headed into March, winning six of its last seven games. However, the Cowboys’ status for the NCAA Tournament is up in the air right now due to the NCAA’s impending decision regarding a potential postseason ban for the Cowboys.
If Oklahoma State is able to play in the tournament, ESPN’s Bracketology has it currently projected as a four seed. I’d have to imagine another win over West Virginia could help bolster the Cowboys’ seeding.
No. 10 West Virginia is limping to the finish line after a stellar regular season. The Mountaineers have lost two of their last three games heading into the tournament.
Bob Huggins’ men were on a great run before running into the buzzsaw that is Baylor on March 2 before losing to a shorthanded Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers are currently projected to get a three seed in March Madness, so a first-round exit in the Big 12 tournament could provide a harsh blow to that.
When Oklahoma State has the ball
The good news for the Cowboys is they won’t have to face the Mountaineers again without their star player with Cunningham set to return for the conference tournament.
#OKState coach Mike Boynton said Cade Cunningham and Isaac Likekele will play tomorrow.
He’s monitoring Likekele closer since he’s played just once in past few weeks. Isn’t sure if Likekele will start, either.
— Jacob Unruh (@jacobunruh) March 10, 2021
Oklahoma State’s offense revolves around Cunningham. The incoming No. 1 overall recruit has been fantastic all season, leading the Cowboys in scoring at 19.6 per game. Oklahoma State plays a lot of isolation-heavy basketball with Cunningham but against West Virginia on Saturday, the Cowboys dominated the Mountaineers inside, shooting 67.4% from 2-point range.
Being forced to play more small ball this season, West Virginia’s interior defense has struggled, allowing over 53% from 2-point range and 61% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math. In fact Oklahoma State only attempted 14 threes for the entire game and still put up 85 points and 1.16 points per possession.
Oklahoma State also really dominated the offensive boards on Saturday, grabbing 14 against the Mountaineers. West Virginia has the second-worst defensive rebounding rate in the conference, so the Cowboys have a true mismatch inside that they can exploit.
When West Virginia has the ball
The Mountaineers have completely changed their offensive philosophy and are now one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country. Bob Huggins’ squad is hitting over 38% from deep and is shooting 3s on almost 35% of its field goal attempts.
However, shooting 3-pointers is not how you beat this Oklahoma State defense, which is something West Virginia found out first hand on Saturday. The Mountaineers went just 5-for-24 from beyond the arc, a rate that isn’t surprising since Oklahoma State is the best perimeter defense in the Big 12.
The biggest issue for the Mountaineers this season has been scoring inside the arc. West Virginia has the worst 2-point percentage in the Big 12, which is a major problem if it isn’t making anything from behind the arc.
For West Virginia to win this game, it has to get to the free throw line often, which it did really well on Saturday. The Mountaineers have the highest free throw rate in the Big 12 and got to the line 36 times in the first matchup.
On the other side, Oklahoma State allows one of the highest free throw rates in the Big 12. To make up for the lack of 3-point shooting, West Virginia has to score a good chunk of its points from the charity stripe.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Getting Cunningham back is only going to help the Cowboys on both ends of the floor. Oklahoma State has a clear mismatch inside, and it’s one that, frankly, I don’t think West Virginia can make up for since Oklahoma State takes away their main strength of 3-point shooting on offense.
I only have West Virginia projected as a -1.03 favorite, so I am going to back the Cowboys to win outright for the second time this week at +135.
Pick: Oklahoma State +135