Monday night features a Big 12 showdown as the No. 16 West Virginia Mountaineers (11-2) travel to Gallagher-Iba Arena to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-4). Both of these teams are 0-1 in conference play. Tipoff for this one is scheduled for 9 pm ET.
West Virginia is coming off of just its second loss of the season as it was defeated 60-53 by No. 3 Kansas on Saturday. Prior to that, the Mountaineers had won four in a row, including a 67-59 upset of No. 5 Ohio State.
Now, they will look to freshman forward Oscar Tshiebwe to get them back on track. Against Kansas, he had a monster game, going for 17 points and 17 rebounds.
Oklahoma State has been in a bit of a spiral, having lost four of its last six games. To its credit, two of those losses were to Top 25 teams, as it lost 80-61 to No. 24 Wichita State and, on Saturday, fell 85-50 to No. 22 Texas Tech.
The Cowboys will be hoping to get a signature win, particularly over a conference opponent, on Monday.
The Mountaineers come into this one as one-point favorites despite playing on the road. The over/under for total points scored is currently set at 136.5.
By The Numbers
Neither of these teams has been elite offensively. West Virginia currently has the advantage in terms of points per game, ranking 116th in the country by averaging 73.2 points per game (66.6 on the road). Oklahoma State comes in 170th in the nation, averaging 70.3 points per game (71.4 at home).
Both of these teams rank much better on the defensive end. West Virginia still has the edge, ranking 35th in the nation by allowing an average of 61.8 points per game to opponents (60.6 on the road). The Cowboys come in 52nd in the nation, allowing an average of 63.6 points per game to opponents (62.6 at home).
Looking For Conference Road Win
To date, West Virginia has been an unstoppable 6-0 at home but is just 2-2 on the road. Still, one of those road losses was at Kansas, and West Virginia has still shown it can be elite.
The Mountaineers have been led this season by Tshiebwe, who is averaging 12.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Derek Culver is the other double-figure scorer for the Mountaineers, averaging 10.5 points and 9.6 rebounds.
Jermaine Haley (9.8 points, 5.1 rebounds), Miles McBride (9.2 points, 2.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds) and Emmitt Matthews Jr. (8.8 points, 4.6 rebounds) round out the regular starters for West Virginia.
Needing A Big Win
Oklahoma State has had a bit of a rough stretch, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t talent on the team. The Cowboys have three players averaging in double-digits in scoring in Lindy Waters III (12.9 points, 2.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds), Isaac Likekele (11.9 points, 4.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds) and Yor Anei (10.5 points, 5.3 rebounds).
Aside from these three, the other two top performers aren’t too bad either. Cameron McGriff (9.6 points, 6.8 rebounds) and Thomas Dziagwa (9.0 points) have both had nice starts to the season.
Taking West Virginia To Win And Cover
Oklahoma State would love to get this win on its home floor, but I just don’t see a way they will be able to stop the Mountaineers in this one. The Cowboys have struggled of late, and I see Tshiebwe having another big game.
West Virginia felt it got the short end of the stick from an officiating point of view against Kansas and will likely take its frustrations out on the Cowboys Monday. For my money, I am taking West Virginia despite laying the single point over Oklahoma State.