College Basketball Pick
At one point, both of these teams had a chance to win the Big 12 regular season title. While that didn’t pan out, they at least grabbed a bye in the Conference Tournament, although more than half the Big 12 can say that as well.
Baylor and West Virginia have beaten the best teams around this year, but they have also faltered at other times. The Bears lost by 18 points at home to Texas Tech about a month ago while the Mountaineers just haven’t had enough to unseat Kansas at the top.
West Virginia took this Game at home in the first meeting as they were ahead most of the Game. Baylor only had 10 turnovers, which is pretty good against this defense, but they also went 4-of-16 from 3 and only had 10 assists on 24 made field goals, a fairly poor rate. The Bears relied heavily on Taurean Prince and Lester Medford to get the job done, but they combined to go 7-of-28 from the field and only had 19 points between them.
The Mountaineers lost the rebound battle, but they also took more efficient shots with Devin Williams (16 points, 7 boards) down low and Jaysean Paige (17 points) creating for himself off the bench. Daxter Miles also had a solid Game, and his ability to shoot the 3 really opens up the offense. WVU’s last two losses have come without Miles, but he’s back and drained five 3s on Wednesday night.
Baylor is coming off a tough loss at Oklahoma, having outscored the Sooners 46-27 in the second half, but ultimately falling, not having enough in the final couple minutes. Part of Baylor’s recent improvement has surprisingly come from Johnathan Motley, who is now starting over Rico Gathers. Before a poor outing against Oklahoma, Motley had reached 20-plus points in three of the last Four Games. While he’s inconsistent, Motley’s size and athleticism can be a problem to most defenses. The last time these teams played he wasn’t really used in the same role and only attempted one shot in 17 minutes. Motley could easily be the difference in this Game.
Teams now have to worry about the beast of a man Gathers off the bench, while dealing with a better offensive player in Motley early on. West Virginia has multiple big guys that can run the floor that are perfect to keep Motley and Prince in check. Bob Huggins has brought Devin Williams off the bench in recent Games and that already adds to the great second unit of Paige and Tarik Phillip.
Baylor has struggled somewhat at home recently so that can’t be the only reason to take the Bears here. They have actually lost three of their last Four home Games if that says anything, but with this being the final regular season Game, maybe that will change things.
This contest will fall to the guards of Baylor between Lester Medford, Al Freeman and King McClure. Those three didn’t have a huge problem with WVU’s press in the first Game and if that’s the case here, they’ll have a better shot of winning.
The Mountaineers have won three straight Games by double digits since getting Daxter Miles back and that could be the deciding factor. Baylor will need more production from its main guys in this one, most notably Motley, who is coming off a bad Game. If Motley and Prince can get going, expect the Bears to grab the win at home.
predicted Score- WVA 80 Baylor 75