An early contest on Thursday’s NCAAB picks schedule should provide the perfect matchup to get a full day of conference tournament action going, with a ranked battle in the Big 12 pitting the West Virginia Mountaineers against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
Thursday, March 11, 2021 – 11:30 AM ET at T-Mobile Center
One might even say the matchup between Oklahoma State and West Virginia is the perfect practice run for the first full day of March Madness that is just a little more than a week away. The quarterfinal matchup in the Big 12 Tournament finds the Mountaineers seeded fourth with the Cowboys fifth, and both sides are currently projected to be Nos. 3/4 seeds, respectively, at the Big Dance. West Virginia enters the matchup ranked 10th in the AP and ninth in the coaches poll, with Oklahoma State running 12/14 in the two sets of rankings.
First Meeting in Conference Tourney for Cowboys, Mountaineers
It’s a perfect Bloody Mary contest with the tip coming at 10:30 local time in Kansas City, the first of four Big 12 games on the slate with ESPN2 handing the broadcast. West Virginia is -2.5 at the best sports betting sites with 151 for the scoreboard target.
Talk about your quick rematches, the Mountaineers and Cowboys just squared off last Saturday in Morgantown where Oklahoma State registered a solid 85-80 upset. West Virginia closed as 10-point chalk on its homecourt, and never led by more than 6 in the back-and-forth affair. The Cowboys made up for 20 turnovers and being outscored 25-15 at the line by shooting nearly 58% and winning the glass battle.
West Virginia was only favored by a bucket in Stillwater when the teams met in January, and the Mountaineers made good in another high-scoring clash, 87-84. Both collisions this year easily made it past the totals after both meetings last season fell short. West Virginia has a 10-9 edge in the rivalry, with the series deadlocked 9-9 as Big 12 opponents.
Cunningham Expected to Play Thursday
Mike Boynton Jr.’s bunch was inconsistent early on the conference fixture, but closed strong by winning six of the last seven games, and covering the NCAAB lines in the final half-dozen trips to the floor. A 1-3 beginning in Big 12 play saw things just not go the Cowboys’ way, with the three losses by a total of seven points. Two of the late victories came in overtime, and the Cowboys are a perfect 4-0 in OT this season.
What made the win last Saturday at West Virginia so remarkable is Oklahoma State did it without star Cade Cunningham. Projected by many as the top pick in the NBA Draft, the freshman was held out with an ankle injury suffered against Baylor earlier in the week. Cunningham is listed as probable for Thursday’s tilt, as is Isaac Likekele who has been sidelined for a couple of weeks with a hand injury. Cunningham leads the Cowboys averaging 19.7 PPG, while Likekele adds in nearly 10 PPG plus team-leading rebound (6.9) and assist (3.7) figures.
WVU Finishes Season with 3-Straight ‘Overs’
Bob Huggins has to be scratching his head as to how his team’s final five losses all came at home, two of those in a busy final week. Four days before losing to Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers dropped a tough one to Baylor in overtime, 94-89. They had a nice double-digit lead over the Bears early, but a 4-minute scoring drought late in the first half proved deadly.
West Virginia had better luck away from WVU Coliseum than inside its own gym, going 10-3 in road and neutral-site battles and a disappointing 8-5 at home. The Mountaineers failed to cover any of the three home games during the final week of the regular season, even getting a bit sloppy against a pretty bad TCU team. All three of last week’s West Virginia games skipped past the totals.
In fact, playing the ‘over’ was the best way to wager games that included the Cowboys and Mountaineers. Oklahoma State, which was also a decent 15-10 against the spread, went 17-7-1 O/U while West Virginia (13-13 ATS) was 18-8 O/U. The ‘over’ definitely piques my interest, but I actually like the Cowboys straight-up on should be around a +130 to +135 moneyline when it eventually comes out. Until those numbers are available, I will take the points with my NCAAB pick.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.