Two teams looking to get back into the win column square off for the first time this season when No. 5 Baylor visits West Virginia on Tuesday.
The Bears have lost two in a row, ending their stay atop the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Baylor has won four of the last five matchups with the Mountaineers, although the teams split the last four matchups played at West Virginia.
Five of the last six games between Baylor and West Virginia have gone over the total.
The Bears join Texas Christian as the only teams in the Big 12 still undefeated in true road games, while West Virginia takes a 10-0 home record into the game.
Baylor (+180) is just behind Kansas (+160) in the odds to win the Big 12 title while West Virginia (+2500) is currently sixth. Baylor is tied for the second-best odds to reach the Final Four, trailing only Gonzaga while West Virginia’s Final Four odds is +1800.
Baylor’s James Akinjo (+5500), Adam Flagler (+7000) and Matthew Mayer (+8500) are long-shot candidates for the national player of the year award.
- Game: Baylor (15-2) vs West Virginia (13-3)
- Location: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, West Virginia
- Day/Time: Tuesday,5 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN2
Baylor Bears vs West Virginia Mountaineers
Visitors Looking to Return to Winning Ways
The Baylor Bears were rolling right along, winning games in a variety of ways and with multiple players contributing to the success of a team that was the unanimous No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 poll for three consecutive weeks and No. 1 for five weeks in a row.
With two home games on the schedule, it figured to be business as usual for Baylor.
First up was a game against a Texas Tech team playing without injured leading scorer Terrence Shannon. Kevin McCullar, who returned to the court but was still not at 100 percent, had a key three-pointer late to lift the Red Raiders to a three-point win.
Four days later, Baylor fell at home to Oklahoma State 61-54. Baylor fell to No. 5 in the rankings after suffering its first two losses since the 2021 Big 12 tournament.
The Bears had made at least 50% percent of their shots in six straight games but shot 41.1 percent against Texas Tech and a season-low 31 percent in the loss to Oklahoma State.
Leading scorer James Akinjo suffered a tailbone injury in the Texas Tech loss and missed all seven of his field goal attempts against Oklahoma State. Freshman forward Jeremy Sochan has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.
“We just need to play with the same anger we’ve been playing with since the beginning of the season,” Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua told the media.
Baylor has failed to cover against the college basketball spreads in four of its last five games.
West Virginia Seeks Offensive Continuity
The West Virginia Mountaineers started the season by connecting on more than 50 percent of their shots in two of the first three games and shot better than 45 percent seven times during an 11-1 start. Things have been trending in a much different direction recently.
It started with the Mountaineers committing a season-high 20 turnovers in a 15-point loss to Texas. West Virginia did not shoot the ball particularly well in the next two games, but did manage to come away with wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma State. When West Virginia made the trip to play a top-10 Kansas team, it all fell apart.
The Mountaineers shot a season-low 27 percent in the 85-59 loss. None of the nine West Virginia players who attempted at least one field goal made as many shots as they missed. The starting lineup was a combined 9 of 40. If not for 23 points off the bench from Malik Curry, one could only guess what the final margin would have been.
Now the challenge is to rebound from that humbling defeat. They get to face a Baylor team that is going to be just a little fired up after dropping back-to-back games.
“We missed a bunch of shots and then got our heads down, and you don’t want to get your heads down against these guys,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said after the loss to Kansas.
West Virginia has failed to cover against the Las Vegas odds in seven of its last eight games against Big 12 opponents.
Turnovers Could be Key
West Virginia and Baylor rank second and third in the Big 12 in turnover margin, and are also among the conference leaders in forced turnovers. Which team wins the turnover battle could very well be the squad to emerge with the victory.
The total has gone over in seven of Baylor’s last eight games at West Virginia. Although both teams get after it on defense, those who bet online might be interested to know that the total has gone over in four of West Virginia’s last five games, as well as in six of Baylor’s last eight games.
Both teams have some work to do on the defensive end. Baylor is eighth and West Virginia last in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense. With that being said, don’t be surprised to see this game go over the total.