Texas vs. West Virginia College Basketball Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Saturday’s Over/Under
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Bob Huggins of West Virginia.
- The No. 4 Texas Longhorns look to remain perfect in conference play Saturday when they visit 14th-ranked West Virginia for a Big 12 matchup.
- Both Texas and West Virginia play at an average tempo, so BJ Cunningham sees plenty of value on the total in this game.
- Read Cunningham's full preview and check out his betting pick below.
Texas vs. West Virginia Odds
Texas looks to remain perfect in Big 12 play Saturday when it takes on 14th-ranked West Virginia in Morgantown, West Virginia.
After beating Kansas last Saturday, then taking care of business against Iowa State on Tuesday, the Longhorns have now moved up to No. 4 in the latest national rankings.
Head coach Shaka Smart came into the season on the hot seat after two subpar years, but now it’s cooled down after putting his squad in position to dethrone Baylor atop the Big 12 standings.
On the other side, West Virginia looked dead in the water against Oklahoma State on Monday until a furious, second-half rally got it the win and the cover.
The Mountaineers have completely changed their style of play after losing big man’offensive rebounding machine Oscar Tshiebwe for possibly the rest of the season. All three of West Virginia’s losses have come against teams ranked ahead of it, so can it buck that trend Saturday against the Texas?
When Texas has the ball
The reason Texas struggled and ultimately was going to be on the outside looking in for the NCAA tournament last season was because of its offense. However, this season the Longhorns have drastically improved from ranking 153rd in offensive efficiency to 13th in the current KenPom offensive rankings.
And the reason for the massive improvement? Greg Brown.
The five-star freshman recruit is dominating the Big 12, with the highest usage rate of anyone in the conference. He is taking more than 30 percent of the Longhorns’ shots on offense as well.
The scoring load though has been more of a collective effort, as four Texas starters are averaging double figures. They’ve also been lighting it up from beyond the arc since conference play began, shooting 37% from deep in their last three games.
West Virginia has almost completely gone away from the press that has made it famous over the years and the change hasn’t done much good, as the Mountaineers are now an average defense.
Against Oklahoma State, it allowed 1.12 points per possession and 64% inside the arc. So, it’s clear that the loss of Tshiebwe has had a major effect on that end of the floor. Texas has one of the best frontcourts in the country right now with Brown and Jericho Sims, so West Virginia’s lone big man — Derek Culver — is going to have his hands full.
When West Virginia has the ball
You might think Bob Huggins is one of those old college basketball coaches who are stubborn and refuse to adapt to the modern game. If you do think that way, you’d be dead wrong.
For years, West Virginia dominated games by throwing the ball into the post and almost completely ignored the three-point line. However, the loss of Tshiebwe has caused the Mountaineers to play small ball, as against Oklahoma State, Huggins started four guys under 6-foot-7 inches.
That said, West Virginia now is a three-point shooting team, which is not something I’d ever imagine saying about a Huggins club, but they are jacking up long-range shots at a ridiculous rate. Over their last two games, they’ve attempted 48 3-pointers and shot more than 40 percent from deep.
That’s a major change because in their first eight games, they only attempted more than 20 threes one time.
The reason the Longhorns are a top-five team is because of their defense, which ranks third in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. They are one of the best teams in the country at defending the opponents shot, ranking seventh in effective field-goal percentage allowed and 16th in three-point percentage allowed.
So, they will be well equipped to defend the barrage of 3s from West Virginia’s offense.
The most fascinating aspect of this game is how Smart is going to deploy some of his lineups. If West Virginia goes small ball, will he leave Sims and Brown on the floor together? Or will he try and counter with a small ball lineup of his own?
Betting Analysis & Pick
Both Texas and West Virginia play at an average tempo, so this game will most likely be played in the half-court, especially since West Virginia has gone away from the press.
Additionally, given how good Texas’ defense is, I think it will be able to control this game at both ends of the floor and force West Virginia to play out of its comfort zone.
I only have 137.46 points projected for this game, so I think there’s some value on under 140.5 points via FanDuel’s number.
Pick: Under 140.5 points or better