The WVU Mountaineers are playing good basketball in the early part of the new season. They won their fourth consecutive game on Saturday after dropping their first of the year against Marquette last month.
WVU now sits at 7-1 overall, although it remains unranked in the latest polls.
A victory in its matchup Wednesday night could change that. The Mountaineers welcome No. 15 UConn to Morgantown in what should be an entertaining battle.
The Huskies are 8-1 so far, with their only blemish coming against Michigan State by four points. They’ve also gotten back on track, winning three straight coming into this matchup.
Of course, all of the WVU basketball action is available to wager on at West Virginia online sportsbooks. While there isn’t a betting line out on Wednesday’s game just yet, it’s likely to be a very tight spread.
Mountaineers Take Down Radford
WVU coasted its way to its seventh win of 2021 on Saturday afternoon against Radford. It performed so well early in the contest that it might have actually cost bettors in the Mountain State.
The Mountaineers took an 18-point lead into the half and extended it to as much as 27. However, Radford’s final two possessions resulted in points, cutting the lead to 16 and leaving WVU backers upset.
The point spread for this game was around -19 at WV sportsbooks.
Despite not winning at the books, it was a good showing for coach Bob Huggins and his squad. Combined with a strong second half against Bellarmine, the Mountaineers look ready for a step up in class.
Senior Taz Sherman continued his great run of late and led all others in scoring by a fairly wide margin. He was the only player in the entire game to reach double digits, with 27 points.
Sherman shot 53% from the field and carried the offense for the most part. He added seven points from free-throw stripe as well.
The guard took more control of things with teammate Sean McNeil out with an injury.
WVU’s next leading scorer was another senior, Pauly Paulicap. He contributed seven points in just eight minutes off the bench.
The Mountaineers will probably need a more well-rounded attack this week against UConn. Unfortunately, it appears that McNeil could also miss this upcoming tilt.
Sherman is averaging 21 points per game this season, with some great shooting in his last three outings. The 27 points was just one shy of his career best that he set against EKU.
WVU Basketball Vs. UConn Preview
Sherman isn’t just a scoring threat, either. He leads WVU in assists as well, with about 3.3 per contest.
And while guard Kedrian Johnson is tops on the team in steals with an average of 2.4, Sherman is right behind him at 1.9.
It will be interesting to see who steps up in regard to putting up points. A quality side like UConn could try to limit Sherman and force someone else to beat it.
Following McNeil, sophomore forward Jalen Bridges and senior Malik Curry are the only others who average more than eight points.
Even if the Mountaineers will be slightly shorthanded, the Huskies will be, too.
Both Adama Sanogo and Tyrese Martin are likely to not play Wednesday. They rank second and third on UConn in scoring this season, combining for over 28 points per game.
That should put more responsibility on the shoulders of senior guard R.J. Cole. He is the Huskies’ leading scorer at 16.3 points and makes an average of two shots from deep every night.
UConn’s best win of the short season was over then-No. 19 Auburn. It beat the Tigers in a wild game that needed two overtime sessions to complete. UConn won 115-109 to move to 5-0.
More recently, it’s taken care of some lesser opponents like Grambling.
The Huskies defeated Grambling with ease in their game on Saturday, earning a 29-point W.
Cole led the way with 18, but four others reached at least 10 points. This included 15 from freshman Jordan Hawkins.
This might not be the most important matchup on the schedule for WVU this season, but it still means something. If UConn plays well for the remainder of the year, this would certainly qualify as a productive win for WVU come tournament time.
WVU Basketball Odds At WV Sportsbooks
Odds haven’t been released for the WVU-UConn meeting just yet, but they probably will be late Tuesday night.
It’s tough to say what this spread will be considering the game is home for the Mountaineers and UConn is missing a couple of key pieces.
So far, WVU is just 3-5 against the spread through its first eight. An outright win on Wednesday evening will probably result in a victory for bettors as well.
At the moment, ESPN’s Basketball Power Index has this one listed as basically a coin flip, with UConn getting the slight edge. It shows the Huskies with around a 51% chance of winning.
Both teams have played on neutral sites for these early-season tournaments, but neither has faced a true road test yet. That changes on Wednesday at the WVU Coliseum and is something else that may impact the spread in the Mountaineers’ favor.
Currently, DraftKings WV Sportsbook does feature updated odds for each side to win their respective conference. The Mountaineers are shown at +1500 to take the Big 12, compared to UConn with odds of +450 to win the Big East.