2014 Big 12 Tournament – Quarterfinals
Sprint Center – Kansas City, Missouri
#3 Texas Longhorns vs #6 West Virginia Mountaineers
Thursday, March 13, 2014, 9:30 pm Eastern, TV: Big 12 Network
Opening Line: Texas -2 1/2
Current Line: Texas -3 1/2
Opening Total: 150 1/2
Current Total: 150 1/2
Opening Money Line: Texas -160 / West Virginia +135
Current Money Line: Texas -170 / West Virginia +145
The Big 12 looks to have 7 teams safely into the NCAA tournament. The 17-14 West Virginia Mountaineers look to join that group with a deep run in the Big 12 Tournament. Most experts say west Virginia needs to advance to the Championship game to even be mentioned in the discussion for a tournament bid. First up for the Mountaineers is a quarterfinal date with the 22-9 Texas Longhorns. Texas tied for third in the Big 12 at 11-7 with Iowa State. The Longhorns are the #3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament because of the tiebreaker. West Virginia went 9-9 in conference and tied for 6th with Baylor. West Virginia is the #6 seed in the tournament. The winner of Texas and West Virginia will face either #2 seed Oklahoma or #7 Baylor in Friday’s semifinals.
Texas leads the series against West Virginia 4-3. The Longhorns won both meetings with West Virginia this season, 80-69 in Morgantown January 13 and 88-71 in Austin February 15.
West Virginia is coached by Bob Huggins. The Mountaineers have losses at Virginia Tech, Wisconsin in a tournament in Cancun, at Missouri, Gonzaga, Purdue, Oklahoma State twice, Texas twice, at Kansas State, at Kansas, Baylor, at Iowa State, and at Oklahoma. WVU has key wins over Duquesne, Old Dominion in Cancun, Marshall and William & Mary both in Charleston, TCU twice, Texas Tech twice, at Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Kansas 92-86 Saturday. The Mountaineers are 14-14 ATS and the total is 16-11 this season.
West Virginia is outscoring teams 79-74 this season. The Mountaineers are #31 nationally in scoring. WVU is shooting 44.3% from the field and 38.6% from 3 point range. The Mountaineers are #34 in three point shooting nationally. WVU makes 72.5% of their free throws. West Virginia opponents are shooting 44.6% from the field and 34.2% from 3 point range. The Mountaineers average 36 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.3 per game. West Virginia averages 13.2 assists, 6.3 steals, 3.1 blocks, and 9.6 turnovers per game. Opponents average 13 assists, 4.6 steals, 3.9 blocks, and 12.8 turnovers a game.
Guard Juwan Staten averages 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Guard Eron Harris averages 17.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Guard Terry Henderson averages 11.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Forward Devin Williams averages 8.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Forward Remi Dibo averages 7.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Gary Browne, Nathan Adrian, Brandon Watkins, and Kevin Noreen will also get significant minutes. Forwards Elijah Macon and Jonathan Holton are both out for the season.
Texas is coached by Rick Barnes. The Longhorns have losses to BYU in Kansas City, Michigan St, Oklahoma twice, at Oklahoma State, at Kansas State, at Iowa State, at Kansas, and Saturday at Texas Tech 59-53. Texas has key wins over DePaul in Kansas City, Vanderbilt, at North Carolina, Rice, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma State West Virginia twice, Baylor twice and TCU twice. Texas is 13-15 ATS and the total is 13-14-1 this season.
Texas is outscoring teams 75-70 this season. The Longhorns are shooting 43.1% from the field and 32% from 3 point range. Texas makes 66.8% of their free throws. The Longhorns are #272 out of 351 teams in free throw shooting. Texas opponents are shooting 40.1% from the field and 34% from 3 point range. Texas is #31 in opponents’ field goal percentage. The Longhorns average 42.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.2 per game. Texas is #4 nationally in rebounding. The Longhorns average 12.4 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 6 steals, and 6 blocks per game. Texas opponents average 12.5 assists, 11.7 turnovers, 6.5 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.
Texas forward Jonathan Holmes averages 13 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Javan Felix averages 12 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Isaiah Taylor averages 12.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Center Cameron Ridley averages 11.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. Guard Demarcus Holland averages 7.3 points, 5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Demarcus Croaker, Connor Lammert, Prince Ibeh, and Kendal Yancy will also get significant time in the rotation.
West Virginia is 8-3 ATS after scoring more than 90 points and 1-4 against teams with winning records. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 games in this series.
Texas is 4-1 ATS in neutral site games, 1-5 overall and in Big 12 games.
Like most teams in the Big 12, each of these teams is better at home than on the road. However, this is a neutral site game, and each should have plenty of their fans in the stands. Texas won both meetings by double digits against West Virginia and 3.5 seems like a bargain. Lay the points and take the Longhorns.