College Basketball Pick
The Big 12 is a tough Conference to predict. Usually, it’s reasonable to go with the home side, but both of these teams have won big Games on the road, and also lost questionable ones at home.
West Virginia is coming off a win at Iowa State on Tuesday, something Baylor did earlier in the season. However, Baylor is coming off a home loss to Texas, which is also something West Virginia did a few weeks ago. These teams have been strangely similar in their Conference results, which is why they entered this week as the No. 14 and 15 teams in the AP Polls.
since losing big at Kansas is their Big 12 opener, the Bears have won their last three road Games, at Iowa State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers were thought to be tripping up after getting blown out at Florida over the weekend, but they came up with a huge win at Iowa State after being down big early. A loss would have given them Four in their last six Games, but they were the better team in the end.
Baylor won all three of these matchups last year, and that could go a long way in this one. Obviously, point guard Kenny Chery is gone for the Bears, but they still have experience in the backcOurt with Lester Medford, which is how you deal with WVU’s pressure.
Baylor has the players to deal with most teams on any given night, but depth may be an issue in this one. The Mountaineers love to run, which means guards Ishmail Wainright and Medford are going to have to play a lot of minutes and do a lot of work. OUtside of them, Jake Lindsey and King McClure don’t play a ton. The Bears also have size in Rico Gathers to deal with whoever in the paint, but also length with leading-scorer Taurean Prince and Johnathan Motley off the bench.
Prince was a problem for WVU in last year’s matchups and he’ll likely be again in this one. At 6-7, he has the ability to knock down shots from deep, but also is active inside the arc. West Virginia has a couple options to deal with him like Nathan Adrian or Esa Ahmad, but both of those are bigger and slower, which means Prince could use athleticism to his advantage.
WVU’s Devin Williams is coming off a monstrous 17-point, 18-rebounds night, but will face much more resistance going against Gathers (averaging a double-double). Both of those big guys probably cancel each other out.
At the guard spot, the Mountaineers get the edge with a constant rotating fleet of Four guys. Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. are probably a little better defensively, but not as great offensively as Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip off the bench. Paige averages just 21 minutes per Game yet leads the team with 14 points per Game. That’s an impressive stat and something Baylor has to stop.
Another player of note for the Mountaineers is Johnathan Holton, who was suspended two Games ago and it doesn’t look like he’ll return here. Holton is the perfect player to defend Prince on the other end, and that could play a huge role in this Game.
If Baylor can stop West Virginia from running too much, the Bears get the edge with their zone defense as the Mountaineers aren’t as good in the half cOurt.
The Mountaineers have won three Games by double digits at home in Big 12 play, but also fell to Texas. Baylor has experience against the WVU pressure and as long as Medford can stay composed, expect the Bears to have a real chance to win this one. Keep in mind the Bears are 7-1 in this series since West Virginia joined the conference.
Predicted Score- WVA 84 Baylor 69