College Basketball Betting: West Virginia at Oklahoma St.

College Basketball Betting: West Virginia at Oklahoma St.

The crowded picture atop the Big 12 standings could get even messier on Saturday afternoon when No. 23 West Virginia, fresh off their upset of Kansas, hits the road to face No. 22 Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers still have an outside chance to capture the regular season conference title, while the Cowboys are clinging to Tournament hopes after going 5-6 in their last eleven games. This is the first of two meetings between the teams, the second of which will close out the season slate in Morgantown on March 7. Oklahoma State lost last time out at home to Iowa State, but did string together three straight wins against Texas, Kansas, and Baylor in early February which will bolster their March resume. On the flipside, West Virginia has dropped five of their last seven versus Top 25 opponents. Here’s a preview and prediction.

WEST VIRGINIA AT OKLAHOMA STATE -5

As Juwan Staten’s layup fell good in the waning seconds of Monday night’s thrilling victory over the Jayhawks, there was a collective explosion of relief from both the players and fans. The Mountaineers needed a signature win, so it’s no surprise that their top scorer and emotional leader delivered when given the opportunity. Staten’s senior campaign has had its share of ups and downs, and compared to his brilliant junior year has been a statistical disappointment. However, he, forward Devin Williams, and a deep bench of contributors have been good enough to place the Mountaineers in a solid position for the stretch drive. Barring a huge collapse, they are bound for the Field of 68, and have the type of roster that could be tough to handle once the Madness begins. They have decent size, can score in the 80s when needed, and lead the country in steals. All that’s missing is a shooting touch.

Talk about a brutal schedule, the Cowboys have faced ranked competition in eight of their previous 11 games and gone 4-4 in said games. The dynamic duo of senior swingman Le’Bryan Nash and junior guard Phil Forte III will make or break this team now and in the future. With a shallow bench of offensive talent, they must lead the charge, along with three-point specialist Anthony Hickey Jr. Nash and Forte combined to shoot 7-24 in the loss to the Cyclones, so it goes without saying they will have to be sharper in their own building to beat the visiting Mountaineers. Playing inspired defense is critical; if they can keep the score in the low to mid 60s, they will definitely hold the upper hand. Guard Jeff Newberry is one to watch; he’s scored double-digits in four straight.

WVU is 4-9 ATS in their last 13 road tilts. OK State is 13-4 ATS in their last 17 at home. This should be a close matchup. Look for the Mountaineers to keep the margin tight and possibly win outright.

Bet WVU +5