Baylor vs. West Virginia - Big 12 Tournament - 3/12/15 Pick, Odds, and Prediction
West Virginia Mountaineers (23-8) at Baylor Bears (23-8)
College Basketball: Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm (Sprint Center)
The Line: Baylor Bears -3 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: ESPN 2
The West Virginia Mountaineers and Baylor Bears will battle at the Sprint Center in the Big 12 championship – 2nd round this Thursday afternoon.
The West Virginia Mountaineers finished the regular season with a 23-8 record and earned the 5th seed in the Big 12 Championship with an 11-7 conference record. West Virginia displayed one of the best pressure defenses in the country this year that could really cause their opponents to turn the ball over. The Mountaineers are ranked 20th in the RPI Standings and has played the 45th ranked SOS. West Virginia’s biggest wins of the season came against Kansas (62-61), Oklahoma (86-65) and NC State (83-69).
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West Virginia averaged 74.1 ppg (ranked 34th) on 41.1% shooting (ranked 281st). The Mountaineers averaged 6.6 three-pointers per game (ranked 144th) on 31.6 three-point shooting (ranked 281st). West Virginia averaged 14.4 apg (ranked 61st) and 13.0 turnovers per game (ranked 221st). Defensively, West Virginia allowed their opponents to average 66.4 ppg (ranked 162nd) on 46.7% shooting (ranked 323rd). The Mountaineers averaged 11.1 spg (ranked 1st) and had a turnover margin of 6.9 (ranked 2nd). West Virginia allowed opponents to shoot 31.6% from beyond the arc (ranked 293rd) and commit 23.2 personal fouls per game (ranked 345th). Leading the way for the Mountaineers on the season have been Juwan Staten (14.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.1 spg) and Devin Williams (11.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.3 apg).
The Baylor Bears finished the season with a 23-8 record and earned the 4th seed in the Big 12 Championship with an 11-7 conference record. Baylor had one of the best overall defenses in the country and really did a great job controlling the boards throughout the season. Baylor is ranked 10th in the RPI Standings and has played the 3rd ranked SOS. Baylor’s biggest wins of the season were against Iowa State (twice – 74-73, 79-70), Oklahoma (69-58), and West Virginia (twice – 87-69, 78-66).
The Baylor Bears averaged 69.7 ppg (ranked 111th) on 43.5% shooting (ranked 178th). Baylor averaged 7.1 three-pointers per game (ranked 87th) on 38.7% three-point shooting (ranked 33rd). The Bears averaged 12.5 turnovers per game (ranked 162nd) and had a 1.2 assist/turnover ratio (ranked 76th). Defensively, Baylor is holding their opponents to 60.0 ppg (ranked 30th) on 39.9% shooting (ranked 51st). The Bears pulled down 39.58 total rpg (ranked 8th) and had a rebound margin of 8.5 (ranked 6th). Baylor averaged 7.7 spg (ranked 37th) and 4.0 bpg (ranked 104th). On the season, the Bears were led by Taurean Prince (14.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.4 spg) and Rico Gathers (11.6 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 1.2spg).
The Mountaineers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The Bears are 4-0 in their last 4 games following an ATS win and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Baylor was able to handle West Virginia in both match-ups this season. Baylor was able to handle the pressure that West Virginia brings in both match-ups this season, and actually won the turnover battle by a 13-8 margin in the second match-up. West Virginia relies on their defensive to create turnovers and get easy buckets as they don’t have a great half-court offense and rely on getting 10-15 more shots per game than their opponents to win. Baylor has been great all season as they use their length and athleticism to really cause headaches on the defensive end. West Virginia has been without one of their stars, Juwan Staten, the last two games and he is currently listed as questionable for this match-up. I don’t see West Virginia having much success on the offensive end and as long as Baylor can limit their turnovers, I feel that they should be able to cover this small spread. Take Baylor to cover.