The WVU Mountaineers men’s basketball team have just about wrapped up their strenuous regular-season schedule. After their game on Saturday against Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers will be preparing for what should be a tough battle in the Big 12 tournament.
The Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship begins on March 10 and goes through March 13. It’s going to be hosted at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.
Although the Mountaineers already have their NCAA Tournament berth all but in hand, the conference tournament is very important.
Not only do coach Bob Huggins and his team want to prove to the selection committee that they’re worth a high seed, they also want to build momentum.
It’s rare for a college basketball program to perform poorly down the stretch, then be able to flip the switch for the Big Dance.
All of the conference tournaments will also be helpful for those looking to gain an edge before March Madness betting in West Virginia.
Of course, those in the Mountain State can wager on the Big 12 tournament or any college basketball contest at any WV sportsbook.
Let’s break down the current odds for the upcoming conference tourney and see exactly how far WVU can go.
Big 12 Tournament at WV sportsbooks
While we won’t know the Mountaineers’ exact path to winning the Big 12 until everyone finishes up, we have a good understanding of its outlines.
One thing that’s certain is that they won’t be participating in the first round of the tournament. Only the conference’s bottom-four seeds will play on the opening night.
Even though the final tournament bracket won’t be decided until Sunday night, the first-round matchups are set.
No. 10 Iowa State plays No. 7 Oklahoma, along with the game between No. 9 Kansas State and No. 8 TCU.
It’s likely that Texas Tech will finish with an identical conference record to OU’s following its meeting with Baylor this weekend. However, the Red Raiders have defeated the Sooners both times head to head.
Since all the teams haven’t played the same number of games this season, seeding is based on your winning percentage.
If WVU can take care of business at home on Saturday, then it will earn the postseason tournament’s No. 2 seed.
On the other hand, a loss could drop the Mountaineers a couple of spots. Since Kansas doesn’t have any more games, an 11-6 record would move them back to at least the third spot.
A loss, as well as a Texas victory over TCU on Sunday, could potentially push WVU to the No. 4 seed. The two teams split the regular-season series, so a tiebreaker would need to go into effect.
Seeding is vital because it sets you up for the entire tournament, not just the first game. Avoiding the fourth seed would also allow you to get around Baylor until the championship.
So while WVU doesn’t have a whole lot riding on the line in its finale, there is always plenty to play for in March.
WVU basketball odds
A win on Saturday and the No. 2 seed would set up the Mountaineers nicely. They’d face the winner of Oklahoma-Iowa State, which is likely to be the Sooners, based on ISU’s 0-17 showing in the conference.
WVU will be pulling for the Cyclones, though. In two games against OU this year, WVU came up short.
Despite losing both contests, the total margin of victory in the two games was just five points.
Beating any team three times in one season is an extremely difficult task. Oklahoma may have the opportunity if the cards fall right.
It’s likely that the Mountaineers will be favored heading into a potential third matchup with OU. The Sooners ended the season on a four-game losing streak and aren’t playing their best basketball.
If WVU can escape the second round, it will find itself in the Big 12 semifinals against either the No. 3 or No. 6 team.
Right now, that would be Kansas or Texas Tech.
Obviously, at this point in the Big 12 tournament, teams expect to face tough competition.
WVU split its two games with KU, while it took down Tech twice.
A win here would pit the Mountaineers against most likely Baylor in the final. WVU would love another shot at the 20-1 Bears.
It comes as no surprise that the regular-season champs are sizable favorites to also capture the conference tournament.
At DraftKings Sportsbook West Virginia, Baylor is listed at -112 to cut down the nets in Kansas City.
Texas actually has the second-best odds at +510, with WVU not far behind. The Mountaineers have odds of +525 to win the Big 12, while Kansas is shown at +550.
The online sportsbook includes the following odds for the remainder of the conference:
- Oklahoma State +800
- Texas Tech +900
- Oklahoma +1300
- TCU +15000
- Kansas State +30000
- Iowa State +50000
A quality performance for WVU could bolster its résumé and help improve its seed for the NCAA Tournament. Currently, ESPN’s bracket projections place the Mountaineers as a No. 3 seed.