West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Marshall Thundering Herd - 12/14/14 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Marshall Thundering Herd (3-5) at West Virginia Mountaineers (8-1)
College Basketball: Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 4:30 pm (Charleston Civic Center)
The Line: West Virginia Mountaineers -15.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: Root Sports Pittsburgh
The West Virginia Mountaineers will face off against the Marshall Thundering Herd at the Charleston Civic Center this Sunday afternoon.
The 22nd ranked West Virginia Mountaineers rebounded from their first loss of the season, a 74-73 loss to LSU, to beat the Northern Kentucky Norse 67-42 this past Sunday to improve to 8-1 on the season. West Virginia got it down on the defensive end as they held the Norse to just 26.5% (13-49) shooting and forced Northern Kentucky to commit 20 turnovers. Leading the way for the Mountaineers was Devin Williams who had 12 points (2-5 FG; 8-12 FTM-A) and 6 rebounds. West Virginia has one of the better players in the Big 12, Juwan Staten, who is averaging 15.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.2 apg, and 1.9 spg. Also contributing for the Mountaineers have been Jonathon Holton (11.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg), Devin Williams (10.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg), and Daxter Miles Jr. (8.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg). Offensively, West Virginia is scoring 79.4 ppg (ranked 26th), however, are only shooting 41.0% from the field (ranked 265th). West Virginia is able to score all those points as they are ranked 1st in the country in offensive rebounds per game (19.56) and steals per game (14.0). Defensively, the Mountaineers are holding opponents to 61.6 ppg (ranked 95th) on 44.6% shooting (ranked 254th).
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The Marshall Thundering Herd lost their 5th straight contest and dropped to 3-5 on the season after losing 73-69 against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Marshall hung tough with Penn State but couldn’t overcome their poor outside shooting as they only went 28.0% (7-25 3FG-A) from long range. Leading the way for Marshall was Jay Johnson with 19 points off the bench. On the season the Thundering Herd have been led by Ryan Taylor (15.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 3.4 apg), Shawn Smith (12.0 ppg), and Cheikh Sane (7.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg). Defensively, Marshall is allowing 68.4 ppg (ranked 213th) on 40.8% shooting (ranked 136th). The Thundering Herd have been doing a nice job on the defensive glass as they are grabbing 28.88 defensive rebounds per game which ranks 15th in the country. Offensively, Marshall is averaging 68.6 ppg (ranked 173rd), however they are shooting only 39.9% from the field which ranked just 286th in the country. Marshall will need to improve protecting the ball as they average 15.6 turnovers per game which ranks 310th in the country.
The Mountaineers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 against Conference USA opponents, however are just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Sunday games. The Thundering Herd are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above 60%, however are just 7-20-1 ATS in their last 28 non-conference games.
Marshall has been struggling but they actually put up an encouraging performance against a decent Penn State ball club. I’m a bit concerned about Marshall’s ability to protect the ball against West Virginia’s defensive, however as this is a rivalry game, I think Marshall will bring their best performance of the season and will keep it within this large point spread. Take the Thundering Herd and the points.