Baylor & West Virginia Provide Old-Fashioned Defense in Big 12 Tourney

wvu baylor

Willie Bee

Thursday, March 8, 2018 12:37 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 8, 2018 12:37 PM UTC

The NCAA basketball odds favor West Virginia to beat Baylor for a third time this season when the two meet Thursday night in the Big 12 Tournament. 

Baylor (18-13 SU, 14-10 ATS) vs. West Virginia (22-9 SU, 13-14 ATS)Free NCAAB Pick: Under 141Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Seeded third and sixth, respectively, in the Big 12 Tournament, West Virginia and Baylor should each hear their names called when the invites to the NCAA Tournament go out. Just don’t tell the head coaches, Bob Huggins and Scott Drew, that means their Mountaineers and Bears have little to play for when the teams meet Thursday in the quarterfinals of the conference tourney.

The last of four games on Thursday’s card in Kansas City, Baylor and West Virginia are expected to tip things off around 9:30 PM (ET) with ESPN2 providing the pictures from Sprint Center. 5Dimes has West Virginia -5 with 141 for the total.

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Tony Caridi and Jay Jacobs preview tomorrow evening's matchup with Baylor in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship. This Big 12 Championship report is presented by United Bank. pic.twitter.com/y3hwSANHga

— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) March 8, 2018
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Weak Early Schedule Could End Up Costing Baylor

Baylor is obviously in a more precarious position than West Virginia when it comes to the Big Dance following a season in which the Bears dropped 10 of 18 conference games and recorded a weak 2-9 mark against ranked opponents. Drew’s dudes got off to a 5-0 start, one of those wins over Creighton to win the Hall of Fame Classic at Sprint Center. But a 2-7 beginning to the Big 12 slate really hurt, and the Bears closed with three defeats in their final four games, failing to cover any of the setbacks. Mixed into the first 10 wins of the season were seven games against weak squads that never made it to the NCAA basketball odds board.

Current projections have West Virginia a No. 4 seed for the NCAAs, but after falling in overtime to Texas in their season finale a one-&-done appearance in the conference tourney could drop the Mountaineers to a 6 line. Huggins’ charges were flying high with a 15-game win streak in early January before a 1-5 stretch sent them tumbling from a No. 2 ranking in the AP poll. Included in that span were three successive losses to unranked teams (TCU, Kentucky, Iowa State), the Mountaineers favored in each game. West Virginia went 4-4 against ranked clubs overall, including a victory at home over currently top-ranked Virginia.

Series Trends, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

Baylor holds an 8-6 advantage in the budding rivalry that has been streaky, the Bears winning seven of the first eight clashes and the Mountaineers taking five of the last six after sweeping this season’s two contests. It was a defensive battle in Morgantown two months ago, West Virginia holding on for a 57-54 triumph as 10-point chalk. The rematch in Waco ended 71-60, WVU backers giving up 1 in that matchup. Both games failed to reach the totals, leaving ‘under’ bettors with winning tickets in four of the last five encounters.

Despite both teams experiencing some defensive lapses the past couple of weeks, I’m going to hop on that totals trend with my free NCAA basketball pick.

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