NCAA Tournament East Region 2nd Round Picks: West Virginia vs. Clemson

2011 NCAA Tournament Second Round – East Region
#5 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. #12 Clemson Tigers, St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL
Thursday, March 17, 2011, 12:15 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: West Virginia -1
Current Line: West Virginia -1.5
Opening Total: 123.5
Current Total: 123.5
Money Line: West Virginia -125 / Clemson +105

West Virginia Clemson NCAA Tournament Preview
Kevin Jones and the Mountaineers will try to make it to the Final Four for the second year in a row.

The 12th-seeded Clemson Tigers (22-11) played their way into the second round of the NCAA tournament’s East Region with an easy 70-52 win over Alabama-Birmingham on Tuesday in the First Four.  The Tigers got a career-high 22 points from Jerai Grant and will meet the fifth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers (20-11) on Thursday at Tampa’s St. Pete Times Forum.

Of course Clemson could have likely earned a better seed and avoided the play-in game with a win against North Carolina last Saturday in the Atlantic Coast conference tournament semifinals.  Instead, the Tigers blew a 14-point lead in the first half and lost in overtime to the top-seeded Tar Heels, 92-87.

Clemson made sure its lead would hold against the Blazers this time, scoring 25 of the game’s first 32 points and jumping out to a 31-13 advantage with 6:32 remaining in the first half.  UAB did not get any closer than eight points the rest of the way, allowing the Tigers to advance in the Big Dance for the first time in 14 years.

West Virginia (-1.5) made it all the way to the Final Four a year ago and will have a much tougher road this season without key players De’Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks, both of whom were selected in the NBA draft.  Butler led the Mountaineers last year as a senior while Ebanks left school after his sophomore year.  They upset top seed Kentucky 73-66 in the East Region final before losing to eventual national champion Duke 78-57 in the national semifinals.

The team was seeded sixth in the Big East Conference tournament and lost as a 2.5-point favorite in the second round by #11 Marquette last Wednesday, 67-61.  Wins against fellow NCAA tournament teams Louisville, Connecticut and Notre Dame in West Virginia’s last three home games of the regular season certainly helped matters when it came time for the selection committee to decide whether or not to take a record 11 teams from the league.

The UNDER has cashed in the six of the last seven games for the Mountaineers along with five of the past seven for Clemson.  In fact, the Tigers have seen the UNDER go 18-10-1 in their games this season and have aided that trend by scoring 70 points or less in eight of their last nine.  West Virginia has also allowed only one of its last seven opponents to score more than 70.

Now that you have read this NCAA tournament college basketball betting preview featuring West Virginia & Clemson, check out the NCAA basketball odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.

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