It’s impossible to get any closer than the Mountaineers men’s basketball team came to losing in the first rendition of WVU vs. Texas Tech this season. When West Virginia faces the Red Raiders again on Tuesday, this time in Lubbock, they’re looking for a tournament-résumé-boosting sweep thanks to that one-point victory last month.
West Virginia online sportsbooks don’t like their chances, however, setting them as a consensus underdog to Texas Tech. It was the nature of that narrow escape in Morgantown back on Jan. 25 that plays into the odds.
A look at the latest WVU vs. Texas Tech men’s basketball odds
This road game against the seventh-ranked Red Raiders is slated to tip off at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN. WVU, sitting at No. 14 in the AP poll, is an underdog of about five or six points, depending on which WV sportsbooks you’re looking at.
The total on this game varies between 140 and 141 points. That’s a shade under these two teams’ combined average on the season (151 points). It’s also shy of what the teams produced on Jan. 25 (175 points) in Morgantown.
So why the low total? It’s all about United Supermarkets Arena. The average total for games at that venue this season is just 130.1. Texas Tech is averaging allowing just 63.6 points per game over its past six home games. In four of those contests, the opponent failed to reach 70 points.
To upset that trend, WVU needs a solid start. The Red Raiders have won the first half in eight of their past nine night games at home. That’s helped Texas Tech collect a lot of lopsided wins, as their average margin of victory is 19 points.
Replicating the recipe for success on Jan. 25 will be an even more impressive feat, should the Mountaineers pull it off.
How did WVU escape with a win over Texas Tech the first time?
How do you overcome a 12-2 deficit in turnovers? Shooting 57.7% from the field, including 63.2% from behind the arc, can certainly help. That’s far above WVU’s average of 42.9% from the field on the season.
The numbers say West Virginia will be hard-pressed to repeat such a performance. Texas Tech averages allowing Big 12 opponents a mere 45.9% from the field and 40.7% from 3-point range so far this season.
Obviously, a gap of 10 in the turnover battle might be too much for another jump shot by Miles McBride with six seconds left in the game to overcome. If WVU is to defy the odds in this game, it will have to shoot the lights out in a venue that’s proven unforgiving for opponents recently.