Virginia vs Oklahoma
TVirginia vs Oklahoma: he opening point spread has been released for the ninth-seeded Sooners’ Round of 32 matchup against No. 1 seed Virginia in Columbia, S.C. According to the oddsmakers at Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, the Sooners opened up as an 11.5-point underdog against the Cavaliers, who overcame a slow start to defeat 16th-seeded Gardner-Webb 71-56 Friday afternoon.
“They’re terrific,” said head coach Lon Kruger. “They’ve got a lot of terrific players. Tony [Bennett] does a great, great job. They’re very secure in what they do. They do it as well as anyone in the country, defensively and offensively. So they’re fantastic.”
OU played inside-out to perfection Friday, scoring 44 points in the paint while also hitting 6-of-13 3’s in a 95-72 victory over No. 8 seed Ole Miss. They converted 21 of their 26 free throw attempts as well in the complete performance. They’ll, of course, need a whole lot more of that against a team that was nearly the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The race for spots in the Big 12 Championship Game has come down to the final week of the regular season. Friday night, No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 13 West Virginia will battle in Morgantown with the right to play for the Big 12 title likely on the line. Should No. 14 Texas take care of business earlier in the day against Kansas, which it should, then the Sooners and Mountaineers will fight it out for the right to see the Longhorns next Saturday.
The Sooners have been one of the best shows in college football on offense, but they’ve been winning in spite of their defense, which just allowed 40 points to Kansas. Meanwhile, West Virginia is trying to beat the Sooners for the first time since joining the conference and will need to pick itself off the mat after giving away a game to Oklahoma State.
Date: Friday, Nov. 23 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Milan Puskar Stadium — Morgantown, West Virginia
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN
Oklahoma: The Sooners aren’t fixing their defense now, so whatever happens in Morgantown will be on the shoulders of Heisman Trophy contender Kyler Murray and the offense around him. It’s been that way all season and in far more times than not, Murray has delivered. With his arm strength and speed as a decisive runner, he’s the most electric player at the quarterback position. Oklahoma’s offense has played efficiently all season long — they rank first in the nation with 4.22 points per drive — and this game will likely require their best performance yet.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers have one remaining monkey on their back: beat the Sooners. It hasn’t been done since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12, and in most years, it hasn’t even been close. After a while, it becomes a mental game as much as anything. But West Virginia has known for a long time that this is its best chance to actually make the Big 12 title game, and that chance may not come around again soon. This team has already responded well after one loss to Iowa State, how can it respond after allowing Oklahoma State to come back and steal a win?
Game prediction, picks
The challenge for West Virginia will be finding at least a few stops against Oklahoma’s offense. However, the Sooners have cut it close lately and West Virginia quarterback Will Grier could at least get himself to New York for the Heisman ceremony with a big performance in his final home game. The Mountaineers tend to play better when their backs are against the wall anyway. Pick: West Virginia +1.5