Last Updated Mar 16, 2023, 12:10 PM
West Virginia vs. Maryland Picks, Predictions, Odds
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The West Virginia Mountaineers and Maryland Terrapins will kick off March Madness shortly after noon on Thursday. These two teams played in the two toughest conferences in college basketball this season, and they are both looking for a postseason win after missing out on the NCAA Tournament last year.
Although these schools are a little over 200 miles apart, they have only faced off twice in the last 30+ years, so it's hard to look at history when trying to determine who will win this game and take on Alabama in the second round on Saturday.
March Madness will get underway on Thursday, March 16, 2023, and the first game will feature the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Maryland Terrapins. This game is slated to tip off at 12:15 p.m. ET on CBS from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Maryland Terrapins Betting Prediction
This is a tough game to handicap as the Maryland Terrapins are the most inconsistent team in the country according to Erik Haslam of Haslametrics. The Terps didn't have multiple Quad 4 losses or anything too crazy, but it is difficult to figure out which Maryland team will show up on a nightly basis. Meanwhile, Ken Pomeroy's numbers have West Virginia as the 17th best team in the nation even though the Mountaineers went 7-11 in Big 12 play. The best bet looks to be the Under as Maryland has played in five straight games that have had 135 points or less. The Terrapins play at a very slow pace, and Bob Huggins doesn't press nearly as much as he did in the past, and both those factors will help the Under.
Best Bet: Under 137.5 (-110)
Score Prediction: West Virginia 68, Maryland 65
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West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Maryland Terrapins Betting Odds
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Maryland Terrapins Betting Resources
Date: Thursday, Mar. 16, 2023
TV-Time: CBS, 12:15 p.m. ET
Venue: Legacy Arena at BJCC
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Maryland Terrapins Betting Stats
West Virginia Mountaineers
Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS), Over-Under (O/U)
Points Per Game (PPG), Opponents Points Per Game (OPPG)
West Virginia Mountaineers Betting Analysis
Bob Huggins is in his 16th season at West Virginia. This is the 11th time he has taken the Mountaineers to the NCAA Tournament, and they have won at least one game in each of their last three March Madness appearances. Huggins has done a great job of adapting his coaching style to a changing game, and that has led to WVU remaining competitive.
Erik Stevenson and Tre Mitchell are the two best shooters on West Virginia. Stevenson leads the team with 15.5 PPG and is knocking down 38.1% of his threes, and Mitchell is averaging 11.6 PPG while hitting 37.9% of his treys. The next three leading scorers on the Mountaineers are hitting less than 32% of their triples, so it's clear who WVU is going to try and create shots for in this game.
The Mountaineers do a very good job of grabbing offensive rebounds and getting to the free throw line. They rank 32nd in offensive rebounding percentage, and they rank 20th in their ability to get to the charity stripe. WVU's five starters are all excellent free throw shooters, as the "worst" starter is still hitting 79.1% of his freebies. Jimmy Bell Jr., Mohamed Wague, and James Okonkwo all do a great job rebounding off the bench for this team too.
Maryland Terrapins Betting Analysis
The Terrapins rank 35th in offensive efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy. Maryland doesn't really turn the ball over, but the Terps don't have great perimeter shooting either. They are making just 33% of their three-pointers, as Ian Martinez is the only rotation player that is a solid shooter from distance. None of Maryland's five leading scorers are shooting better than 33.9% from beyond the arc.
Julian Reese is an effective presence in the block as he is averaging 11.2 PPG and 7.3 RPG while making more than 63% of his field goals. Top scorer Jahmir Young is averaging 16.1 PPG and also leads the team with 3.2 APG, and he does an excellent job of drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line. Hakim Hart is making 59.1% of his field goals while averaging 11.5 PPG.
Maryland has a pretty good defense too, ranking 33rd nationally per Pomeroy. The Terps are about as good with their perimeter defense as they are with their interior defense, allowing opponents to make just 32.1% of their threes and 47.7% of their twos. They do a decent job cleaning up the boards, and they don't commit a lot of silly fouls.