NCAA Basketball Picks: Add 'Under' In Texas Tech vs. West Virginia Matchup

Willie Bee

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 1:56 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2016 1:56 PM UTC

West Virginia's final home game finds the Mountaineers favorites on the NCAA basketball odds against a Texas Tech team that has upset three ranked teams the last few weeks. 

Bob Huggins knows how important the No. 2 seed for the upcoming Big 12 Tournament is for his West Virginia Mountaineers. He's also well aware that his Mountaineers are in control of their own destiny: Win out, and second place is theirs.

But here's the dilemma; to do that, it means West Virginia first has to take down a Texas Tech Red Raiders bunch that has been playing some if their best basketball Wednesday night. That would be the same Texas Tech outfit that would be the most likely opponent for the Mountaineers in the tourney, and having beaten the Red Raiders once already, we all know how tough it can be to beat the same team three times in a given season.

West Virginia and Texas Tech tip a little past 7 PM (ET) in Morgantown, ESPNU televising the affair which will be the Mountaineers' final home game of the year. The home side officially went out at -11, that spread bet down overnight to -9½ and the total is 146.

With Kansas having already wrapped up sole possession of the Big 12 title, three teams enter their final two contests of the regular season just a game apart. West Virginia at 11-5 in the league ranks has the leg up on both Oklahoma and Baylor, both the Sooners and Bears sitting at 10-6.


Mountaineers Take Aim At 7th-Straight Vs. Tech
Texas Tech, meanwhile, is guaranteed no worse than seventh, and Tubby Smith's group could move up one rung on the totem pole by winning their final two games. The 7-10 seeds play the opening round while 1-6 get an extra day of rest, giving the Red Raiders plenty of incentive not to be swept by West Virginia. If they did finish seventh and presuming they beat TCU in the opening round, they would next face the No. 2 seed in the conference tourney.

West Virginia can earn the series sweep as well as its 6th-straight win in the series after topping the Red Raiders 80-76 in Lubbock on January 23. The final had just enough margin for Mountaineer backers who were giving up 3 on the NCAA basketball odds, the third consecutive meeting WVU provided winning tickets. The Mountaineers needed a closing 10-2 run in the tilt to get both the outright and spread wins, Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip each coming off the bench to score 20+ for Huggy's lads.

That gave West Virginia a commanding 8-1 lead in the rivalry, all nine encounters coming since 2005 when the clubs met in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA's as Big East and Big 12 opponents. Texas Tech's last win in the series came in the 2013 Big 12 Tournament, a 71-69 upset as 8 point underdogs.


Raiders Looking For 4th Win Over A Ranked Team
Texas Tech (18-10 straight up, 14-11 against the spread) saw its 5-game win streak snapped last Saturday in Lawrence, falling 67-58 to Kansas. Tubby Smith's troops couldn't stop the Jayhawks from claiming sole possession of their 12th-straight Big 12 crown, but the Red Raiders did at least put up enough of a fight to beat a -13½ spread KU bettors faced.

They beat Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma during the 5-game run, the win over the Bears coming on the road as 10½ point 'dogs, and are 3-7 vs. ranked teams this season.

West Virginia (22-7 SU, 16-10 ATS) used its superior strength on the glass to get past Oklahoma State the same day, 70-56. The Mountaineers outrebounded the Cowboys 42-25, including 19-5 on the offensive glass, and got another big game by Paige (17 pts) along with leaving Stillwater with a 27-14 advantage in scoring at the line.

The Mountaineers have a trip to Waco to face Baylor this Saturday, putting them in something of a look-ahead spot. I'm leaning to Tech and the points, but more confident in a free NCAA basketball pick on the 'under.'

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 147
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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