West Virginia Mountaineers (17-6) at Oklahoma Sooners (16-6)
I hope you all enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday last night, what a game! I took the day off of college picks for the big game, but we will pick right back up on the action today.
We won our fourth straight college basketball game Saturday when we backed the San Diego Toreros at home against St. Mary’s. Another home underdog, another winner. The Toreros were getting nine points at home, and that seemed way too high for a team that has been more than serviceable on their home court this year.
San Diego fell behind early but stormed back in the second half and got it down to a one-possession game late, but couldn’t quite complete the comeback and lost 65-62, easily covering the number. San Diego isn’t going to make the NCAA tournament this year, they just don’t have the full body of work needed, but they have some very interesting home games left on their schedule, and you can bet I am going to take a hard look at them any time they are home dogs.
For St. Mary’s it is business as usual. They will look to stay hot and are looking forward to hosting Gonzaga on Saturday the 10th with a chance to lock up the WCC regular season crown. Today I will shift from the West Coast Conference to the Big 12 when I break down the matchup between the Oklahoma Sooners and the West Virginia Mountaineers.
The Oklahoma Sooners will host the West Virginia Mountaineers in a huge matchup that has lots of Big-12 title implications. The Mountaineers were able to protect their home court when these teams matched up last month, and now it is the Sooners turn for some revenge. West Virginia snapped back in their last game, stomping K-State by almost forty points. It was a much-needed win as the Mountaineers had lost five out of six games.
Oklahoma has been struggling a bit lately as well, as they can’t seem to win a road game in league play this year. The Sooners are -2.5-point home favorites tonight. The game total over-under is set at 167.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from the Lloyd Noble Center.
Trae Young is the talk of the college basketball world right now. The superstar freshman is leading the nation in both scoring and assists, something no player has ever done in college basketball history. The one place that the youngster has struggled though has been on the road in league play. Young and the Sooners have lost five straight league road games, including the 89-76 loss to these Mountaineers on January 6th.
Luckily for Oklahoma, they will be playing at home tonight against this ferocious West Virginia defense. The Sooners are a completely different team on their home court and hold some huge wins this season in Norman. Wins over Kansas, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas Tech have the Sooners looking for a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament.
They will have to play their best game tonight if they want to avenge their earlier season loss to West Virginia and keep pace with Texas Tech and Kansas for the Big 12 regular season crown.
The West Virginia Mountaineers have, at times, looked like the best team in the country this season. They rose to as high as number two in the national rankings, and many wondered how you could beat this team and its stifling defense.
It turns out the trick to beat the Mountaineers is to catch them outside of Morgantown. The Mountaineers have dropped recent games to Texas Tech, TCU, and Iowa State on the road in Big 12 play.
They are just much better on their home court this season. That is generally the case for most teams as that home court advantage is generally a big one in college basketball. What will happen tonight as they travel to Norman to play Trae Young and a very good at home Sooners team?
This is an absolute blockbuster of a game. On a day where there are very limited games on the schedule, this game stands out as must-see TV. The loser of this game is essentially out as a real contender to win the Big 12 title this season. Texas Tech and Kansas are one game ahead of both Oklahoma and West Virginia and dropping to two games back will likely be something that neither team would be able to come back from this late in the year.
This game should be razor close tonight. Javon Carter did as good of a job slowing down and frustrating Trae Young as any player in the country has this year, and I expect his defense to be on point against Oklahoma tonight. But I just can’t go against the data that tells me West Virginia isn’t the same team on the road as they are at home, and that Oklahoma is undefeated on their home court.
I expect a close game where the Sooners pull away late and just barely cover the -2.5-point number. This Mountaineers defense is just too good to think they are going to get blown out, but I think the Sooners find a way to avenge their loss in Morgantown and even up the season series. I’m thinking 82-74 Sooners with the win and the cover.
Give me the Oklahoma Sooners tonight on their home court -2.5-points.