USA TODAY Sports
West Virginia sure looked like it could be the best team in the Big 12 over the weekend, and it will get a chance to prove it belongs at the top during its next stretch of games. The Mountaineers begin a stretch of three straight against strong teams when they visit Texas on Tuesday.
West Virginia jumped back into a tie for first place in the Big 12 with Kansas on Saturday by crushing TCU 73-42. The Mountaineers, who had lost at the Jayhawks in their previous game, got a big boost as senior forward Jonathan Holton returned from a four-game suspension and solidified the frontcourt on both ends of the floor. The Longhorns are enduring their own brutal stretch of schedule and dropped two games behind the conference leaders with losses at Oklahoma and Iowa State in the last two games. Texas, which will face the top three teams in the conference at home over its last six regular-season games, already has a win at West Virginia under its belt and has yet to lose a Big 12 game in its own building.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
LINE HISTORY: Texas opened as 2-point home favorites, while the total has yet to hit the board.
West Virginia – G D. Miles Jr. (questionable Tuesday, hamstring).
Texas – C C. Ridley (Late February, foot).
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (20-5, 14-8 ATS, 9-12-1 O/U): The Mountaineers earned coach Bob Huggins his 27th 20-win season by forcing 26 turnovers and dominating the boards 50-35 against TCU. Holton, who sat out the last four games due to a violation of team rules, came off the bench and delivered 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in 18 minutes, while center Devin Williams put up his third double-double in the last five games. “(Williams) continues to get better,” Huggins told reporters. “(Saturday), he got going too fast and missed some shots, but he is one of the premier rebounders in this league.”
ABOUT TEXAS (16-9, 7-5, 12-12 ATS, 10-14 O/U): The Longhorns held the Mountaineers to 31.1 percent from the field in a 56-49 road win on Jan. 20 but had less success on the defensive end on Saturday, when Iowa State went off at 55.4 percent in the 85-75 loss. The setback sent Texas into the new week in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Big 12. “I don’t obsess over the standings,” Texas coach Shaka Smart told reporters. “We’re just trying to take care of business when we take the floor. I know we had two great opportunities this week on the road that we weren’t able to take advantage of.”
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* West Virginia is 1-6 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Under is 7-1 in Texas’ last eight overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Early on the public is backing West Virginia, with 59 percent of wagers on the Mountaineers.