Texas forward Greg Brown (4) celebrates a play with head coach Shaka Smart and teammates during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against TCU, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
- #13 West Virginia will attempt to gain a split of the season series when it visits #12 Texas in a Big 12 game at 3 pm ET Saturday in Austin, Texas
- Neither team has played since Feb. 13 because of Covid-19 issues in the Baylor program, and weather issues in Texas
- Check the odds, analysis and betting predictions below
#12 Texas (13-5, 7-4 Big 12) will play host to #13 West Virginia (14-6, 7-4 Big 12) in the second game of their Big 12 regular-season series at 3 pm ET on Saturday in Austin, Texas.
The Mountaineers will face their fourth straight ranked opponent, after victories over #23 Kansas and #7 Texas Tech before a 91-90 double overtime home loss to #12 Oklahoma last Saturday.
#13 West Virginia vs #12 Texas Odds
|West Virginia Mountaineers||OFF||+4 (-116)||Over 146.5 (-110)|
|Texas Longhorns||OFF||-4 (-106)||Under 146.5 (-110)|
Odds from FanDuel on Feb 19.
West Virginia has not played this week because two games against No. 2 Baylor, one at home and one on the road, were postponed because of coronavirus issues in the Bears’ program. Texas beat TCU 70-55 on Feb. 13 before its scheduled game against Oklahoma on Wednesday was called off because of bad weather.
A Collision of Powerhouses
As befitting their poll rankings, West Virginia and Texas also sit near the top of the KenPom leaderboard coming in.
West Virginia is ranked 18th in offensive efficiency and 10th in adjusted offensive efficiency while the Longhorns are 19th in offensive efficiency margin and 20th in adjusted offensive efficiency. Only Baylor has higher rankings in any of those categories among Big 12 teams.
KenPom ranks the Mountaineers’ strength of schedule at #17 in the nation after factoring in non-conference games against Gonzaga, Florida, Western Kentucky and Virginia Commonwealth. West Virginia, which fell to Gonzaga 87-82 in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 2, is the only team to get within 11 points of the #1 Bulldogs.
Pro Prospects Dot the Rosters
Both teams have a pair of potential pros. Athletic Texas freshman Greg Brown, a 6-9 forward, is projected to be a mid-first round pick in the 2021 NBA draft if he leaves school, and one scouting service projects him even higher if his three-point shot improves.
Brown is averaging 11.7 points per game and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game. He is shooting 43.3 percent from the floor and has made 25-of-68 threes, 36.8 percent. He has made 7 of 8 threes in the last two games.
Longhorns’ 6-10 sophomore Kai Jones (8.4 points, 4.8 rebounds) also is projected to be a mid-first round pick. He has played off the bench most of the season.
West Virginia guard Miles McBride, a 6-2 sophomore, is leading the team with a 16.2 scoring average and is projected as a second-round pick. Junior 6-10 center George Culver, who is averaging 15.1 points and 10.4 rebounds, is projected as a potential second-rounder.
Culver has a Big 12-high 10 double-doubles, and both he and Brown had double-doubles in the first meeting.
Rematch of a Game That Went Down to the Wire
West Virginia was in apparent control of the Jan. 9 meeting, holding a 65-60 lead with 1:28 remaining, but failure to convert at the free throw line permitted Texas to make the winning run.
After Texas cut its deficit to three, Culver missed the front end of a one-and-one and Courtney Ramey’s basket brought the Longhorns within one with 58 seconds left. The Mountaineers’ Emmitt Matthews Jr. missed two free throws with 10 seconds remaining, leaving the door open.
Ramey found guard Andrew Jones on a drive-and-dish 3-pointer from the right corner with 1.8 seconds to lift Texas to the victory.
Mountaineers Play the First Game in What Could Be a Busy Week
If there are no further schedule disruptions, West Virginia is in for a hectic week.
The Texas game will be the first of four games in eight days, and the first of three on the road. The Mountaineers are scheduled to play at TCU on Tuesday and squeeze in the game at Baylor on Thursday before playing host to Kansas State next Saturday.
West Virginia seems equipped as well as any to handle it. Bob Huggins’ rotation includes eight players who average at least 15 minutes a game. McBride averages 34 minutes a game, but he is the only player with more than 28.1 minutes a game. Culver averages 27.3.
West Virginia’s bench is averaging 18.2 points a game, led by guard Taz Sherman’s 12.6.
Texas is scheduled to play thrice in eight days, against Kansas on Tuesday and at Texas Tech on Saturday.
By the Numbers
West Virginia is 10-10 ATS but has lost seven of its last nine against the number. The Mountaineers are 3-3 ATS on the road in the Big 12 and have won their last two as a slight underdog, both against Texas Tech.
Texas is 7-11 ATS and it broke a six-game spread losing streak by covering the 11-point number against TCU. The Longhorns are 1-6 ATS at home in the Big 12, and they have lost their last three outright and ATS when favored by three points or fewer.
Texas has won five of the last six in the series and is 4-1 at home against the Mountaineers under coach Shaka Smart. Three of those victories were when West Virginia was ranked, including a 67-57 last Feb. 24.
Pick: West Virginia +4
Jack has covered college and professional sports for various Arizona media outlets and has written for the AP, USA Today and Baseball America, among others. He staffed the 2015-17 World Series and has staffed four Super Bowls.