NCAA Basketball Picks: Take Marshall to Keep Game Within Reach vs. West Virginia

Joe Catalano

Thursday, December 17, 2015 4:06 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 4:06 PM UTC

The Marshall Thundering Herd (3-6) and #20 West Virginia Mountaineers (8-1) have a major rivalry for control of the state of West Virginia. Let's take a look and make our NCAA basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Marshall +20.5 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Tip-off is scheduled for tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia. At 5Dimes, a ton of points are expected as the total is listed at 161.5 on the NCAA basketball odds while the Mountaineers are a heavy 20.5 point betting favorite.


A Chip Off the Old Block
Marshall is coached by Dan D'antoni, who is the brother of former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks head coach Mike D'antoni. Dan was an assistant for his brother and the one thing that the D'antoni's preach is ball movement.

They look for the ball to keep moving and scoring as many points as possible as possible. They've never been big on defense. While D'antoni's Thundering Herd are averaging 78 points per game, they run into a a team, coached by Bob Huggins, that averages 86 points a game. Marshall has won 3 straight games after losing their first 6, but this is a very unfavorable matchup for Marshall.

As for West Virginia, they've beaten the teams that are listed on their schedule, but do sport one loss to a top 25 club in the Virginia Cavaliers, 70-54. West Virginia has had an easy road and for now, the road remains easy as they will be able to score at will in this game.


Team Effort
The Mountaineers are a team with Devin Williams (17 points, 9.8 rebounds) as the go to guy, but we're going to see frequent substitutions as the Mountaineers go 11 players deep (11 players playing 10 minutes or more per game).

Although they can score in a hurry, this isn't a team that looks for the 3-ball, they rely heavily on guys like Williams and guards Daxtor Miles Jr. (12.8 points, 1.9 steals) and Jevon Carter (12.4 points, 2.6 steals) , Coach Huggins preaches offense combined with defense and a lot of screaming at the referees equals success.


Devin Williams
As for Devin Williams, he makes the most of his time on the court, averaging 26.7 minutes per game and shooting over 60% from the field. He's a massive 6 foot 9, 255 pounder that needs to stay out of foul trouble so this game will not be in doubt. Look for Williams to play well here. He's had 2 concsecutive lackluster efforts on the offensive end and Marshall possesses a weak defense. This is the perfect team for him to lay 20 plus points on.


The Big 3?
Surprisingly, Marshall isn't a 3 point shooting club also, but they rely heavily on their top 3 player in James Kelly (16.4 points, 9.8 rebounds), Ryan Taylor (16.2 points, 6.8 rebounds), and Stevie Browning (12.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists).

All three players can crash the boards and light up the scoreboard. As for Browning, he's plays an important role in ball distribution as he's not efficient shooter, shooting well under 40% from the field. The one thing that these 3 players need to do is eliminate turnovers as that's the weakness to their games.

Could Marshall's ability to control the glass make this a closer game than expected? I think that this game will be right around the number. Marshall, who is much inferior, doesn't wan't to be embarrassed by the arch rival and I expect the Thundering Herd to be up for this game. Add Marshall to your NCAA basketball picks.

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