NCAA Basketball Picks: Tough Defense The Key To K-State Covering vs. West Virginia

Charles Stark

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 2:40 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 2:40 PM UTC

Tonight West Virginia takes on Kansas St., and although I do admire what Bob Huggins is doing with the Mountaineers, I think the value for our NCAA basketball picks lies somewhere else.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Kansas State +10½
Best Line Offered: at YouWager


NCAA Basketball Odds Overview
NCAA basketball odds boards have opened with Kansas State a +10.5 underdog like at Bookmaker -110. This is good value on a well coached team so for my college basketball pick today, I will back the Wildcats plus the points. West Virginia is very good, especially at home, but this double digit spread will be a bit too much for them to cover tonight.


Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State is averaging 73.6 points per game while shooting 43.3% from the field, and allowing 66.8 points per game on 41.8% shooting from the field. Against the spread, they are an incredible 12-3-1 overall and 6-1-1 on the road. This has been mostly due to the fact that they had very little returning and not much optimism coming into the season, so they have been a bit undervalued most of the way. Bruce Weber is a tremendous basketball coach and has found a way to keep this team very competitive, even on the road. Although I don't think they pull off the big upset tonight, I do believe they will stay within the number. Offensively, they don't do anything that really jumps out at you, but they do move the ball really well averaging 14.6 assist per game, and they shoot around the perimeter at a decent rate at 49.1% per game. Defensively, is where they have been getting it done, and I think this is how they will be able to succeed tonight. Kansas State ranks in the better part of the country in opponent shooting efficiency and opponent effective field-goal percentage. Most impressively, they rank fourth in the country allowing opponents to shoot just 28.2% from beyond the arc. They will have to do more than defend that area tonight to hang with a good team in West Virginia, but they gave them a battle at home, and I expect them to battle again tonight.


West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia is averaging 82.2 points per game while shooting 46.2% from the field, and allowing 64 points per game on 41.3% shooting from the field. Although not as impressive as Kansas State, West Virginia on the season is 10-6 against the spread overall, and 4-2 at home. They are recently coming off a really tough loss at Oklahoma and then not being able to bounce back losing to Texas at home. In their last contest, they had a nice road win at Texas Tech, and for the most part look like at the very least a Sweet 16 team. Offensively, they will try to push some tempo, and they do everything decently well ranking in the better part of the country in assists per game, total rebounds per game, shooting percentage, and field goals made per game. They don't shoot from beyond the arc particularly well, which may or may not hurt them considering Kansas State defends that area really well. Defensively, they are getting it done from the inside out which is what we should expect from a Bob Huggins team. West Virginia ranks fourth in opponent assist per game, eighth in opponent total rebounds per game third in opponent field goals made per game and opponent three point shooting percentage. This is a really good basketball team with decent offensive statistics and great defensive statistics. However, even at home, I think they're giving away just a few too many points to a Kansas State team that will control tempo and play tough defense.

It is understandable for West Virginia to be a pretty strong favorite at home in this spot. With both of these teams having strong against the spread records, it really comes down to the matchups, and in this game, although the underdog, I like for Kansas State to hang within the number. For one of your NCAA basketball picks, I recommend backing Kansas State plus the points.

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