The 2019 WVU men’s basketball team might have something special going for them this season.
They enter the week with a 13-2 record. More importantly, though, they have proven they are a force to be reckoned with in the conference and on a national scale.
After losing a hard-fought game at Kansas by seven, the Mountaineers recovered beautifully, defeating two worthy Big 12 Conference opponents.
WVU went on the road to beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a challenging environment for road teams. A strong first half and another incredible effort defensively got coach Huggins and his team their first conference victory.
Freshman Oscar Tshiebwe continued his stellar rookie campaign following a horrid game in WVU’s win over Ohio State. He led the Mountaineers in scoring again after posting a massive 17 and 17 line at Kansas.
His 12 points and eight rebounds helped pave the way for a 14-point WVU win over the Cowboys.
The Mountaineers didn’t stop there, as they took down last year’s national runner-up in Texas Tech. WVU beat the Red Raiders by 12 in front of its home fans in Morgantown Saturday evening.
Miles McBride, another freshman, had another excellent performance off the bench to spark the home win. He tallied 22 points on eight of 11 shooting to lead the Mountaineers.
The schedule doesn’t slow down for WVU, though. It will face another quality test on Tuesday night as it hosts 12-3 TCU from the WVU Coliseum.
Even with the NFL football season nearly complete, West Virginia sportsbooks are seeing plenty of betting action across the board. If the Mountaineers continue this play all season long, it could be an enjoyable spring come March Madness.
Let’s take a closer look at WVU’s latest triumph and provide a betting preview ahead of its clash with TCU.
Mountaineers Down No. 22 Texas Tech
WVU Hoops entered its latest game against Texas Tech as slight home favorites laying around 4.5 points. Although not perfect, it played another solid game and led throughout the contest.
As mentioned, McBride led all scorers with 22 points. He was one of only two Mountaineers to reach double digits.
Not only did McBride lead the team in scoring, but he did so efficiently again. In just 25 minutes, the freshman hit 73% of his shots from the floor and hit five of six from the free-throw line.
This fantastic showing comes just a few games after he put up 21 points in the Mountaineers’ win against Ohio State. While WVU has plenty of offensive weapons who can score, it hasn’t solidified a go-to man when shots aren’t falling.
McBride could end up being that guy. According to the Associated Press, McBride said:
“I work hard on my shot every day. After practice, before practice, I’m always there trying to perfect my craft and it was just falling down tonight. I just knew my range was something I worked on a lot, and I just go to it.”
Games like these will only instill more confidence in himself and his teammates. When it’s crunch time, and WVU needs a bucket, the young guard from Cincinnati can be someone to rely on.
Coach Huggins has seen a lot from McBride in the team’s first 15 games. Huggins said:
“He’s not afraid. That’s the biggest thing.”
As always, other Mountaineers chipped in to help secure WVU’s 13th win. Fellow benchwarmer Brandon Knapper scored 10 points to go along with four rebounds and two assists.
Starters Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe contributed as well. Culver had nine points and seven boards, while Tshiebwe added seven points and a game-high 17 rebounds.
WVU Basketball Predictions
The victory moved WVU to 2-1 in conference play and propelled it up this week’s AP Top 25 poll. WVU is now the No. 12 college basketball team.
Although Kansas and Texas Tech are two of the best teams in the Big 12, the schedule doesn’t lighten up too much for the Mountaineers. They’ll host a surprising TCU team tonight at home.
The Horned Frogs are 12-3 overall, including 3-0 in conference games. They’ve beaten Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Iowa State in their last three.
Despite not being ranked in the polls, TCU did receive several votes this past week. A win over No. 12 WVU would certainly help matters.
Senior guard Desmond Bane leads the Frogs. He averages over 17 points and is second on the team with almost seven rebounds per game.
Bane is especially dangerous from beyond the arc. He’s shooting over 44% from deep and has made 15 more threes than anyone else on the roster.
Like the Mountaineers, TCU does have several players who can score, though.
Both RJ Nembhard and Kevin Samuel average more than 10 points per contest while helping in other areas, too. Nembhard leads the team averaging 3.6 assists and Samuel with 8.9 boards.
Although TCU features a fantastic record thus far, a lot of games could have gone either way. It defeated KSU and ISU by just two points each and took down UC Irvine earlier in the year by only one.
According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Mountaineers have over an 85% chance to come away with another win. Even though TCU could make this a competitive affair, WVU should have no problem earning its 14th victory Tuesday night.
WVU Hoops Betting Odds
Betting on college basketball is quickly replacing WVU football and WVU’s exciting season is helping. There are two online sports betting apps available in the Mountain State:
Here are the WVU Mountaineers’ odds for their tilt with TCU according to both mobile platforms on Jan. 13:
- WVU -8 (-110)
- Moneyline: -400
- TCU +8 (-110)
- Moneyline: +310
- Over 127 (-110)
- Under 127 (-110)
- WVU -8.5 (-110)
- TCU +8.5 (-110)
- Over 127.5 (-110)
- Under 127.5 (-110)