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West Virginia vs. Morehead State Betting Odds: Opening Spread, Early Prediction For 2021 NCAA Tournament

West Virginia vs. Morehead State Betting Odds: Opening Spread, Early Prediction For 2021 NCAA Tournament article feature image

Porter Binks/Getty Images. Pictured: Miles McBride.

  • West Virginia is a big favorite over Morehead State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The teams will tip off in the final game of Friday's slate at 9:50 p.m. ET.
  • The Mountaineers haven't played their usually-stifling defensive style, instead relying on an improved offense.
  • Stuckey thinks WVU won't have trouble advancing here, but doesn't see it as a Final Four-caliber team.

#3 West Virginia vs. #14 Morehead St. Odds

Morehead St Odds+12.5
West Virginia Odds-12.5
Moneyline+650 / -1000
TimeFriday, 9:50 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday and via DraftKings

How West Virginia & Morehead St. Match Up

West Virginia
Morehead St.
All stats via KenPom.

West Virginia vs. Morehead State Instant Analysis

As soon as I saw this matchup, I thought back to the 2016 season when the No. 3-seed Mountaineers were easily beaten 70-56 by No. 14-seed Stephen F. Austin.

Morehead State will bring an eerily similar profile into this matchup as the Lumberjacks did in 2016. The Eagles have a superb defensive unit, ranking Top 50 in Effective Field Goal percentage allowed and 3-point percentage allowed (KenPom). They led the Ohio Valley Conference in every major defensive category, and won 15 of their past 16 games.

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins will have the talent advantage with 6-foot-10 forward Derek Culver (14.6 points, 9.8 rebounds) and big-shot maker Miles McBride (15.4 points, 39.2% 3-point shooting), but I anticipate this game will have one of the lowest point-spread of any top-four seed opening round matchup. — Mike Randle

What To Know About West Virginia

This isn’t your older brother’s West Virginia team known for its stifling defense and struggles on the offensive end. It’s actually quite the opposite as the West Virginia offense has shined since big man Oscar Tshiebwe decided to transfer mid-season.

This might actually be West Virginia’s best offense since Huggins took the Mountaineers to the Final Four back in the 2010 season. For the season, the ‘Eeers rank 12th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency but 66th on defense, per KenPom.

Taz Sherman, Miles McBride and Sean McNeil are tough shot makers. And like most Huggy Bear teams, they excel on the offensive glass thanks in large part to Derek Culver.

I’m personally just not sold on the defense (which has been super fortunate in regards to opponent shooting despite allowing the nation’s hird-highest percentage of open jumpers (min. 10 games). The only teams worse are MVSU and Oakland’s awful zone. That’s not a promising signal and I’m also not sure the offense can maintain the level of success it has enjoyed.

You know WVU will fight, but I don’t think this is a Final Four-caliber team. But I’ve been wrong many times before. — Stuckey

What To Know About Morehead St.

Morehead State earns its paychecks on the defensive end of the floor and on the backboard. The star of the show is 6-foot-10 freshman sensation Johni Broome, who is a force inside on both ends.

The defense is extremely devastating in the half-court, ranking in the 94th percentile nationally, per Synergy. Their athleticism can really disrupt offenses that rely on pick-and-roll/screening.

As a 14 seed, I think they wouldn’t mind seeing the current version of VIllanova in what would be a grind-it-out-affair. Morehead can switch everything to hang with Nova’s screening action, while also eating inside against the Wildcats soft interior.

I think they’d want to avoid a team like Houston, which would take away everything in the paint and exploit Morehead’s turnover issues. — Stuckey

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