College Basketball Pick
The last time these teams met it was a back-and-forth battle that ended on a last second tip-in that gave the Sooners a 70-68 win. West Virginia did everything needed to pull off a road upset, but fell just short. This time around, the Mountaineers would like to finish Oklahoma off.
It was a usual Game for West Virginia in that first meeting. They forced the Sooners into 18 turnovers and their bench even outscored the starters. In addition, WVU held Oklahoma to just 33.3% from the field and Buddy Hield only managed 17 points, well below his season average. Now in Morgantown, the advantage goes to the Mountaineers, who have run through most Big 12 competition at home. OUtside of a loss to Texas, they have won their other five home Conference Games by double digits.
Things haven’t been going as well for Oklahoma as of late, losing to Kansas State, Kansas and Texas Tech in the last couple weeks as their weaknesses have come to light. The Sooners are relying too much on the three (55 of last 105 FGs have been from 3) and that has seen them lose, or win rather close Games. That could easily be the result in this matchup again.
Maybe the biggest difference from the last meeting is the play of WVU’s Devin Williams. He finished with five points, six boards and Four fouls in only 15 minutes of action. However, this is the type of Game he should fine success in and has been averaging a double-double in the last six Games. If Williams puts in a big Game in addition to what West Virginia’s guards usually do, they should be in line for the win.
The Sooners don’t play the greatest defense on the perimeter and that should lead to another big Game from Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip off the bench (combined for 25 points first Game). If not, Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. are also capable of doing work. Miles missed Tuesday’s Game with a hamstring issue, so his status is worth monitoring.
For Oklahoma to win, they’ll need to take more care of the ball. Their starters gave the ball away 16 times in that first Game and that can’t happen on the road. Offensively, everything the Sooners do will depend on how they shoot. They were 7-of-24 from deep in the first Game and that won’t cut it here. The Sooners have been relying too much on the three and that was a main reason they lost to Kansas last weekend and Texas Tech on Wednesday night. Cousins, Ryan Spangler and Jordan Woodard combined to shoot 4-for-18 from 3 and that was it against the Jayhawks.
Oklahoma’s offense starts with Hield, but on the road against a team that gave them problems once already this season, there needs to be more production outside of him. That means either Woodard or Cousins need to step up and hit some shots. Either that or Dante Buford has to be a factor off the bench.
The Mountaineers have been cruising at home in the last month and it’s going to take a lot to beat them going down the stretch in Morgantown. Oklahoma may have the tools to do it, but due to a lack of consistency, could once again have problems against the West Virginia pressure.
Score Prediction – WVA 82 Oklahoma 78