West Virginia Battles Trae Young & Sooners in Norman

Willie Bee

Monday, February 5, 2018 1:08 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 1:08 PM UTC

The Big 12 remains wide open, and we have a free college basketball pick for a key contest Monday night when the Oklahoma Sooners host the West Virginia Mountaineers.

West Virginia Mountaineers at Oklahoma SoonersFree NCAAB Pick: Under 169½Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Finally, we can put that silliness called the NFL to bed and focus on important things, like college hoops and the fact pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks. Regaining their focus is exactly what Bob Huggins would like his West Virginia Mountaineers accomplish after slipping recently with five losses in six games, and there’s no place better for them to do that than under the bright lights of ESPN’s Big Monday in Oklahoma against the Sooners.

A capacity crowd is expected at Lloyd Noble Center for the 9 PM (ET) tip, and the top sportsbooks in the biz expect them to see a close battle in the only matchup of ranked teams on this evening’s card. Oklahoma is laying 2-2½ and the early scoreboard target is 169-170.

Sooners 5-0 At Home In Big 12 Action

Who knows? Maybe the Mountaineers have been distracted by the NFL playoffs, at least that’s one explanation for the funk they fell into. Huggins hopes that Saturday’s lopsided home win over Kansas State is a sign it’s all behind them. Favored by 7, West Virginia put an 89-51 whipping on the Wildcats by combining its best shooting performance since back in November with the usual stifling defense. Putting it all together like that on the road would be the next step after the Mountaineers dropped their last three contests outside Morgantown.

Lon Kruger’s kids have also struggled mightily away from Norman, the Sooners winning just one of five Big 12 road games after falling 79-74 as 3-point underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds in Austin over the weekend. They’re perfect at home in conference play so far, however, and really need this one with trips to Iowa State and Texas Tech on deck. Freshman superstar Trae Young managed to sink just 2-of-14 from 3-point range at Texas, but has found the rims at Noble Center much more to his liking by hitting 18 of his last 32 treys on this floor.

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Oklahoma has won 1️⃣4️⃣ straight games inside the LNC - the 6️⃣th longest active home streak by a major conference team. #BeTheDifference and bring the noise when West Virginia comes to town for Big Monday. pic.twitter.com/zfkYSzieE6

— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) February 4, 2018

Rivalry Trends, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

This is a rematch of a contest played in Morgantown almost exactly a month ago when West Virginia scored an 89-76 decision as 5½-point home chalk. Teddy Allen came off the bench to score 20 for the Mountaineers, while Young had 29 for the Sooners, though he struggled from outside (3-for-14) and turned it over eight times. Oklahoma has a 9-6 edge in the series, and January’s bout fell short of a 173 mark, the sixth ‘under’ winner in seven games.

With neither team playing with any consistency, my free college basketball pick will be to follow the totals trend in the rivalry and play the low side of the total.

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