The WVU Mountaineers might have won their biggest game of the season last night. Although it wasn’t against another contender for March Madness. Their six-point victory over Iowa State put a halt to their latest three-game losing streak.
Prior to the massive road win, WVU had lost six of its last seven games with its only win at home against a 15-14 Oklahoma State. Besides Kansas and Baylor, the Mountaineers fell to Oklahoma twice, as well as Texas and TCU during the tough stretch.
After a great start that had coach Huggins’ squad vying for one of the top seeds in the NCAA Tournament, WVU is hanging on by a thread to close out the year.
The win over the Cyclones on Tuesday night was huge. It stopped the bleeding for a team that is clearly in need of a confidence boost. The victory also is just WVU’s fourth away from Morgantown this season.
Overall, the Mountaineers are just 4-8 in away contests.
The good news is WVU has a chance to protect its home court one more time this weekend against Baylor. It hosts the nation’s fourth-ranked team on Saturday afternoon to close out the regular season.
While the Mountaineers are all but into the tournament already, they can really improve their seeding, still. The game against Baylor and the Big 12 Conference postseason tourney provide WVU several chances to improve its position.
The West Virginia sports betting crowd can take advantage of all of this great action at one of the five retail sportsbooks or three mobile betting apps in the state.
WVU football is one of the most popular betting options in the Mountain State, but college basketball betting is right up there.
Let’s examine WVU’s much needed win over Iowa State and preview what it can gain from another big performance in its finale.
WVU Tops Iowa State
A quality first half from the Mountaineers made it seem as though they might have a comfortable road win for once. Of course it couldn’t be that easy.
Iowa State fought back in the second half and limited WVU on offense. In fact, the Mountaineers didn’t score their first points of the half until after nearly six minutes elapsed.
A 14-point first-half lead disappeared and they found themselves trailing by four with less than 10 minutes remaining.
The Mountaineers buckled down, however, and showed some grit in the game’s final five minutes. Derek Culver, among others, scored some clutch baskets and free throws down the stretch to secure WVU’s 20th win of the year.
The 77-71 final was enough for WVU to cover the point spread, too. It entered this matchup as 5.5-point favorites on WV online sports betting apps.
Four Mountaineers scored in double digits, led by Culver and Miles McBride with 17 points each. Freshman Oscar Tshiebwe added 11 and Taz Sherman poured in 12 off the bench.
Culver did a little bit of everything, using his 6’ 10” frame to collect rebounds and cause havoc on the defensive end. He tallied nine boards to go with three assists, two steals and a block in 32 minutes of play.
The W moved the Mountaineers to 20-10 overall, with an 8-9-conference record.
Although many wouldn’t consider beating the Cyclones, who have five conference wins, an accomplishment, every game is important at this point. Coach Huggins also saw this as another opportunity for his team to learn from experience.
According to the Associated Press, Huggins said:
“We’re really young and we haven’t been in situations like that like veteran teams have.”
WVU hopes it can carry the momentum into this weekend where it will battle Baylor for the second time in less than a month.
WVU Basketball Preview
The Mountaineers dropped their first game against the Bears on Feb. 15, losing 70-59 in Waco.
Since that time, Baylor has actually lost a couple of games and has shown it’s susceptible to an off game. It fell at home to Kansas by three, then lost a week later at TCU by the same margin.
The Bears also locked up three more wins, defeating Oklahoma, Kansas State and Texas Tech. They’re now 26-3 overall and an impressive 15-2 in the Big 12.
Despite the two recent losses, Baylor is in great shape for the postseason. The team is still projected as a No. 1 seed in a lot of tournament previews.
Guards Jared Butler and MaCio Teague lead the Bears on the offensive attack. They both average more than 14 points per game while shooting over 40% from the field.
Even though Teague missed these teams’ first meeting with a wrist injury, Baylor cruised to an easy win. Butler made up for his absence with 21 points on 8 of 11 shooting, including five triples.
Sophomores Davion Mitchell and Matthew Mayer helped fill the void, as well. They each scored 13 points the first time these teams got together.
Teague is back, though, and contributing in a big way for the Bears. He scored 14 points, along with adding four rebounds and two steals in their latest overtime victory against Texas Tech.
While Baylor might not come away with a Big 12 title, it’s still had a spectacular regular season. Winning the conference would be nice and something most teams expect with a 15-2 record, however, it’s focused on a trip to the Final Four.
Baylor vs WVU betting odds
March Madness Outlook & Odds
The season finale between WVU and Baylor doesn’t mean too much for the Bears, but a win could be crucial for the Mountaineers. Even if Baylor loses this game and its opener in the Big 12 tournament, it will still probably receive a No. 2 seed.
On the other hand, WVU’s recent slide has left a lot of room for the team to better its seeding in The Big Dance. After once being rated as high as a potential No. 2, the Mountaineers are now seen closer to a No. 7 seed for March Madness.
A win over Baylor would help WVU tremendously in the eyes of the selection committee. The Mountaineers have a solid record but don’t have many signature victories to point to.
Taking down the Bears and winning another game or two in the conference tournament would certainly move WVU up the rankings. It could possibly get back into the conversation for a No. 5 seed or better.
Bettors in the state can put some money down on WVU futures at one of the three online sportsbooks available in the state:
Currently, bettors can find the following postseason odds according to DraftKings:
Make Final Four
- WVU +900
Win National Championship
- WVU +4000