Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 7:00 AM
We always try to prepare you for the showcase game of the night in our basketball write-ups. Typically, that’s going to involve a national power taking on a clear upset threat…or two national powers facing each other. Tuesday night, we have a pair of teams who may have been off your radar thus far in the 2014-15 college basketball season. You need to put OKLAHOMA and WEST VIRGINIA on your radar!
*Both teams currently rank in the Top 13 in Ken Pomeroy’s computer rankings, which are a better proxy for true quality than the media polls.
*Both teams currently rank in the Top 15 in Jeff Sagarin’s computer rankings at USA Today. Ditto. We have agreement from two trusted ratings sources that OU and West Virginia are currently Sweet 16 Caliber teams. You’re used to hearing about Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, and so on…but either the Sooners or Mountaineers could be a very important team come March.
*Both are on the short list of serious contenders in the deep Big 12, particularly now that some of the earlier projected powers (like Texas) are falling on hard times.
*Both play exciting, fast-paced basketball!
Tired of watching boring games between teams who can’t make a shot? Tuesday night’s national telecast just might be the cure! Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S favorite basketball indicators stats have to say about the matchup…
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
Oklahoma: 106.8 per 100 possessions (#58 in the nation)
W. Virginia: 110.3 per 100 possessions (#28 in the nation)
Well, Oklahoma may turn out to be one of those teams who can’t make shots on command. A top 60 ranking is good when you’re talking about more than 300 teams overall. But, it’s not elite when you’re talking about the teams who matter. To a degree, OU’s fast pace is hiding some offensive woes. West Virginia ranks top 30 on a per-possession basis when you adjust for schedule strength. That gives them the nod here. (Note that we’re using stat categories that can be monitored publicly at Pomeroy’s website, kenpom.com)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
Oklahoma: 86.0 per 100 possessions (#5 in the nation)
W. Virginia: 90.9 per 100 possessions (#23 in the nation)
Wow…two great defenses here…with the Sooners grading out as nationally elite. No wonder Texas couldn’t make any shots on Big Monday last week! Defensive quality is hidden a bit on the scoreboard for these teams by fast pace. Once you adjust for possession counts, both of these teams are getting a lot of stops. Both are capable of beating anybody because defense is so important this season. West Virginia has better balance. Oklahoma is currently better on this side of the floor.
W. Virginia: #26
Here’s what we mean about pace. Both like to run. That means TV viewers are likely to see entertaining basketball even if shots aren’t going in against these defenses. Remember that pace often “blows up” when two fast teams play each other. We can’t recommend an automatic Over here on the total because pace is mixed with great defense. It does look, though, that West Virginia has the slightly better composite in addition to enjoying home court advantage.
Against the Spread
W. Virginia: 9-5
Both teams have been moneymakers…as the market has been slow to grasp the true quality of many teams across the land so far. They’re about to catch up with football winding down. So, get up to speed while you can!
JIM HURLEY has been up to speed since the season started. He knows that Vegas sportsbooks really struggle in college basketball until dumb public money starts to hit the board as excitement builds for March Madness. He’s planning a huge week on the hardwood. You can purchase NETWORK’S basketball BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us weekdays during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.
We stay in the Big 12 tomorrow to look at Iowa State and Baylor. That league is very well represented in the national rankings…which means we’ll have plenty of marquee matchups to preview in the coming weeks!
Wednesday: College Basketball Preview…Iowa State at Baylor
Thursday: NBA Preview…Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets
Friday: NFL Early Look…NFC Championship featuring Green Bay at Seattle
Saturday: NFL Early Look…AFC Championship featuring Indianapolis at N. England
Sunday: Bonus Football Coverage
Monday: Big Monday Basketball (Pitt at Duke, Villanova at Georgetown, or OU at Kansas)
We’ll make sure you’re on top of developments in all the major conferences as we roll down the road to march Madness here in the Notebook. College football ended Monday night with the crowning of a new champion. The thrill ride in basketball is just beginning.
Whatever the sport…whatever the month…you’re always going to get BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
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