Oklahoma vs. West Virginia Odds
|Oklahoma Odds||+3.5 (-115)|
|West Virginia Odds||-3.5 (-105)|
|Time | TV||Saturday, 1 p.m. ET | ESPN+|
|Odds as of Friday night and via FanDuel.|
Oklahoma and West Virginia meet in Morgantown on Saturday afternoon with second place in the Big 12 on the line.
This is the second meeting this season between the 12th-ranked Sooners and 14th-ranked Mountaineers. Oklahoma took the first contest in Norman on Jan. 9 by a score of 75-71 in a game that was tight throughout.
The Sooners (12-5, 7-4 Big 12) are playing their best ball of the season and are winners of six of their last seven heading into Saturday. They’re a lot healthier now as well, with leading scorer Austin Reaves back in the lineup after missing two games with an injury. Oklahoma is winning games with suffocating defense and efficient offense, a formula that could take them far in the NCAA Tournament.
West Virginia (14-5, 7-3 Big 12) is on a tear as well, winning five of its last six since returning from a program pause in late January. The Mountaineers are fresh off an impressive road win at Texas Tech on Tuesday, completing a season sweep of the Red Raiders. Bob Huggins’ squad is really clicking offensively thanks to the duo of Miles McBride and Derek Culver, as well as some hot outside shooting.
When Oklahoma has the ball
The Sooners are on the more deliberate side when it comes to pace of play (210th in tempo), but they’ve been quite efficient. Oklahoma ranks 28th in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom. They have a star on the wing in Reaves (15.8 points and 5.3 assists per game), but owe much of their offensive success to their balance and plethora of options beyond Reaves.
The Sooners have four other guards who can provide offense, starting with De’Vion Harmon (12.5 ppg) and Umoja Gibson (9.9). Harmon is a combo guard who shoulders much of the ball-handling duties, but also excels at attacking the rim. He’s also capable of hitting some big outside shots for the Sooners. Gibson is a sharpshooter who transferred in from North Texas. His contributions have been a blessing for coach Lon Kruger, as he’s already canned 88 three-pointers on 44.3% shooting from beyond the arc.
Alondes Williams and Elijah Harkless are key contributors as well, combining to average 14.5 points per game. One of the two can usually be counted on for a good outing, with Harkless having a big day in their most recent win over Iowa State, pouring in 19 points.
In the frontcourt, Brady Manek is the go-to guy. Manek missed two games in January due to COVID-19, and has been inconsistent since his return to the court. He had just 12 combined points in his first three games back, but has bounced back since, averaging 10 points per game in the Sooners’ last three. When Manek’s on his game, he’s a very tough cover due to his outstanding ability to stretch the floor.
Relentless pressure is the name of the game for the West Virginia defense. Huggins likes his guards to harass opposing ball-handlers for 94 feet and speed up the other team’s offense. He also utilizes a deep bench, with the intention of wearing the opponent down as the game progresses.
This hasn’t been Huggins’ best defensive team during his tenure with the Mountaineers, but they’ve still been effective. West Virginia ranks 53rd in adjusted defensive efficiency. Their biggest strength has been defending the three-point line, where the Mountaineers are holding opponents to 31.2%. They force 14.5 turnovers per game, which ranks outside the top-100 nationally. This is low for a Huggins-coached defense, who’s success is largely predicated on turning the opponent over.
The Mountaineers lost center Oscar Tshiebwe mid-season when he decided to transfer. He was a terrific interior defender, and his absence puts a lot of additional pressure on Culver, who can no longer afford to get in foul trouble.
When West Virginia has the ball
The Mountaineers have been terrific offensively this season, and currently rank 10th in adjusted efficiency. Their formula for success has been riding the talented inside/outside combo of McBride and Culver, and surrounding them with shooting on the wing.
McBride has blossomed into a star in his sophomore campaign, leading the Mountaineers in points (16.2), assists (4.5), and steals (1.8). He’s also been lights out from the three-point line this season, hitting 44.3% of his attempts from deep. McBride has made clutch plays on several occasions this year as well, most notably with his game-winning runner with six seconds remaining against Texas Tech on Jan. 25.
Culver looks the part of a first-team All-Big 12 performer, averaging a double-double with 14.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He’s arguably the best low-post scorer in the league, and has really stepped up his game since Tshiebwe left the team.
Two other key pieces for the Mountaineers, Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil, are both terrific three-point shooters. Sherman is the team’s third-leading scorer (13.1 ppg) and has been very consistent from beyond the arc (40.3%). He missed West Virginia’s game at Texas Tech on Tuesday, however, and is questionable for Saturday.
The good news for Mountaineers fans is that McNeil had a monster game against the Red Raiders in Sherman’s absence, going off for 26 points on 5-of–7 shooting from 3. The offense shouldn’t miss Sherman too badly if he can’t go, but his absence hurts their backcourt depth and could prove costly on the defensive end.
The Sooners’ defense has been very strong, especially as of late. Oklahoma is giving up just 61.9 points over their last seven games. On the season, the Sooners rank 28th in adjusted defensive efficiency.
In their win over the Mountaineers in Norman, they stifled West Virginia early, holding them to just 20 first-half points. They were able to overcome a barrage of 3s from the Mountaineers in the second half to pull out the victory. The Mountaineers were great from beyond the arc all game long in the first meeting, finishing 14-of-24 from deep (58%). However, they struggled from inside the arc, making just 28% of their two-point attempts. If the Sooners can slow down the Mountaineers from the outside, they’ll have a great shot to pull off the upset on the road.
Betting Analysis & Pick
West Virginia’s offense has been firing on all cylinders as of late, but as our guy Stuckey pointed out earlier this week, they’re due for some regression soon.
The Mountaineers are shooting a ridiculous 43% from three-point range in conference play, and that’s simply not sustainable. They’ll have an off game from beyond the arc at some point, and the Sooners certainly fit the billing of a team strong enough defensively to slow them down.
Another reason to like the Sooners is that they take care of the basketball. They rank in the top 50 in turnover margin, and won the turnover battle in the first meeting with the Mountaineers. They certainly have the guard play and backcourt depth needed to handle West Virginia’s press for 40 minutes.
The Sooners also have the advantage from a situational standpoint. West Virginia is coming off a hard-fought road victory at Texas Tech on Tuesday, while Kruger had a full week to prepare his team for the trip to Morgantown. I like the Sooners’ chances to pull off an outright upset and will gladly take the 3.5 points.
Pick: Oklahoma +3.5 | Play down to +2.