The Baylor Bears missed a big chance to improve their March madness odds on Saturday but will seek to regain lost ground tonight against the West Virginia Mountaineers – another favorite of fans who’ll be betting on March madness.
West Virginia (-110) 139 (-110)
Baylor(-110) 139 (-110)
The ‘Neers are coming off a 61-60 win over TCU on Saturday; a game in which there were 12 lead changes and eight ties after halftime Jevon Carter had 15 points and Nathan Adrian added 13 points and eight rebounds. WVU shot a ghastly 37% from the field, including 21.4% from the three-point line, made 10 of 15 free throws and was dominated on rebounds in the first half. However, the Mountaineers made up for their shortcomings by outscoring TCU 19-10 off TOs, bench scoring and shot attempts, as well as nabbing 14 offensive rebounds in the second half. Head coach Bob Huggins’s decision to use a 1-3-1 defense in the second played a crucial role in securing the key road win. West Virginia is 23-6 (11-5 in Big 12 play) remains in the hunt for a second consecutive conference runner-up finish to Kansas with two regular season games left. WVU was tied for second place with Baylor and Iowa State entering Saturday. They are currently tied only with the latter. WVU is ranked 12th in the AP poll and was seeded 14th in the early NCAA Tournament Bracket which could or could not reflect their March madness odds.
The Bears are coming off a 69-72 loss to Iowa State on Saturday. Johnathan Motley had 27 points and 11 rebounds and Al Freeman added 17 points, including was 5 of 5 3-pointers. Baylor dominated in second-chance points (26-2) and rebounds (37-17). However, the Bears allowed the Cyclones to shoot 58% from the floor and 8 of 15 from the three-point line. All things considered, there is no shame in losing at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, and the Bears could redeem themselves in the eyes of fans who will be betting on March madness with a win at home versus WVU. Baylor leads the series between the two schools 7-4, though it is tied 2-2 in Waco. BU won seven of the first eight encounters, but WVU has won three straight since. The Bears suffered their first loss of the season after a 15-0 start when they played West Virginia on January 10th. Baylor was the No. 3 overall seed and No. 1 in South in the early bracket reveal, which in theory could mean the Bears have better March madness odds than the ‘Neers. Both BU and WVU have been top-20 ranked teams in each of the last six matchups, with the programs splitting those games 3-3. BU can still earn a No. 3, No. 4, or No. 5 seed in the Big 12 conference championship; a win over WVU would mean the Bears can finish no worse than tied for 4th place, and Baylor would own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Oklahoma State.