NCAAB Odds: Temple, West Virginia Tangle In NIT Championship

west virginia basketball

Friday, November 25, 2016 3:56 PM GMT

We expected No. 19 West Virginia to reach the final in the NIT Tip-Off Tournament and it did, but Temple is a surprise finalist and the Owls are 14-point underdogs on NCAA basketball odds for the matinee matchup Friday.

One team reached the final of the NIT Season Tip-Off with a dominating 40-minute performance in Thursday's semis. The other reached the championship game by getting up off the mat in the final 13 minutes of its contest to record the biggest upset on the Thanksgiving Day schedule.

Tournament organizers might lament not having a pair of ranked teams for the title tilt, but I'm very pleased with the clash Friday at Brooklyn's Barclays Center between the Owls and No. 19 Mountaineers. Everyone can catch the matchup on ESPN2 starting around 3 p.m. ET with BetOnline sending the Mountaineers out at -16½ with the spread quickly dropping to -14 and 147 for the total.

Owls Prove They Can Play With Big Boys Inside

Things did not look good for Fran Dunphy and the Owls over the last seven minutes or so of the first half against Florida State on Thursday. The Seminoles, who closed as 10-point chalk on the NCAA basketball odds, used Temple's cold shooting to pull away and take a 10-point lead into the locker room, with the Owls missing seven of nine field goal attempts in one short stretch.

The bad times continued into the second half when FSU built an 18-point advantage with about 13½ minutes remaining, and that's when the Owls finally came to life. Helped by Quentin Rose's 26 points, sharp-shooting from the charity stripe and timely 3-pointers from Shizz Alston, Temple slowly chopped the deficit down to earn the 89-86 decision.

It took good shooting from outside and at the free-throw line for Temple to pull it off, but the Owls won the game on the inside, where they beat the Noles on the glass with offensive rebounds. Temple also close the lane with nine blocks.

Huggins Empties Bench In Romp

West Virginia and Illinois gave us a close game for about three minutes Thursday, then it was all Mountaineers, who closed anywhere from -8½ to -9½ at offshore sportsbooks. Bob Huggins' troops used a 24-4 run over a 9 minute stretch to demoralize the Fighting Illini, keeping the pedal to the metal in the second half for an 89-57 rout.

Pressure defense resulted in WVU coming away with 15 steals and forcing 24 Illinois turnovers while committing just six themselves. The only failure was once again at the line, where the Mountaineers left 13 points (17-for-30).

The most recent history between these Temple and WVU was in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament when 10th-seeded West Virginia blew out seventh-seeded Temple by 30 points. They collide this time with contradicting trends in the totals column. Seven of the last eight neutral-site contests for the Owls have gone 'over' the total, while seven of the last nine neutral-site affairs for the Mountaineers never reached the number.

It's that West Virginia trend I'm going to follow for my free college basketball pick. My season record is 8-7 (+0.30 units).

NCAAB Free Pick: 'Under' 147

Best Line Offered: BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3120811, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,19,169,180,999996], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]