Baylor (18-1) at West Virginia (17-6)
When: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021
Where: WVU Coliseum,
Time: 5:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Baylor -4/148.5
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The Baylor Bears will attempt to bounce back from their only loss of the season when they visit the sixth-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers on Tuesday night in Morgantown. Covid-19 issues forced the postponement of the three scheduled and rescheduled meetings between these teams this season. Baylor sat through a lengthy Covid delay and came out with a 77-72 win on Feb. 23 against lowly Iowa State. Then on Saturday, the Bears fell at surging Kansas 71-58, but can still capture their first regular season conference title since 1950 with one win in their next three games. Baylor was thoroughly dominated by the Jayhawks in setting season lows for points and field goal percentage (34.8) and were outrebounded 48-28. The Bears also shoot 43.2 percent from 3-point territory but have connected on just 14-of-51 in their last two games. The Mountaineers come in with some momentum after winning six of seven with the only loss coming on Feb. 23 – an overtime loss to Oklahoma. West Virginia took care of business on Saturday and routed Kansas State 65-43, holding the Wildcats to just 15-of-51 from the field and forcing 18 turnovers. Head coach Bob Huggins earned his 898th victory on Saturday and would be only the firth coach to win 900 games with just two more victories. The teams split their two meetings in 2019-20 with the home team winning each contest. The Mountaineers hold a slight 6-4 ATS edge over the last 10 meetings with the total going 5-5 in that stretch.
Baylor entered Saturday’s contest at Kansas as 4.5-point road favorites, but shot just 34.8 percent from the field and 6-of-26 from beyond the arc. Despite that road loss, the Bears are an impressive 8-2 ATS away from home and 13-6 ATS overall. Star Jared Butler couldn’t get things going offensively, shooting just 2-of-9 from the floor and finishing with only five points. On the season, Butler is averaging 16.4 points per game on 48.3 field goal percentage. Butler scored 21 in each of the two meetings with West Virginia last season, while Davion Mitchell (13.4 points) totaled 28 points in those two games. Baylor is third in the nation with 84.9 points per game and fourth in adjusted offensive efficiency with 122.0 points per 100 possessions. The Bears will get one-day rest before hosting Oklahoma State on Thursday.
West Virginia has covered five of their last six games including a road win at Texas on Feb. 20 that followed the Oklahoma loss. The Mountaineers have forced their last three opponents into committing an average of 15.3 turnovers while limiting them to only 43.3 percent shooting from the floor. Miles McBride averages a team-leading 15.5 points for the Mountaineers, but has totaled 16 in the past two games. Sean McNeil has scored at least 16 in four of the past five. Emmitt Matthews Jr. averages under eight points a game, but scored 18 in last season’s win over Baylor. West Virginia is 4-2 against the spread in its last six meetings with the Bears including a 76-64 home win as 1.5-point favorites last season. West Virginia will also be on one-day rest when they host TCU on Thursday.
Baylor has really struggled the last two games, while the Mountaineers have been playing some suffocating defense of late. West Virginia is 0-3 versus top 5 teams this season, but this seems like too many points to give the Mountaineers right now. Take the home dog.
Pick: West Virginia +4