The No. 6 West Virginia University Mountaineers welcome in the No. 3 Baylor University Bears at 5:00 pm EST on ESPN. West Virginia is 8-11 all-time versus Baylor but won the last meeting in the final game of the 2019-20 season, 76-64.
Schuyler Callihan: West Virginia 77, Baylor 73
The Bears have not looked like the same team ripping through every opponent they faced prior to their COVID-19 outbreak. They struggled in their first game back against Iowa State and needed a strong final 10 minutes just to beat the Cyclones at home. They finally lost their first game of the season on Saturday at Kansas, and you could tell the long pause still affected them.
On the other hand, West Virginia is playing some of their best basketball and knows that big things are at stake in the next week and a half. A win over Baylor could propel the Mountaineers to a projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Sure, Baylor may come out "ticked" after losing for the first time, but West Virginia has everything in the world to play for. Winning this game would make a huge statement to the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
If West Virginia takes good care of the basketball, hits a few threes, and stays out of foul trouble, they'll come out on top.
Christopher Hall: West Virginia 71 Baylor 70
The No. 3 Baylor Bears haven't looked the same since their three-week postponement, but I suspect they'll be near full strength by tipoff.
However, if a team can knock off the Baylor Bears at full health, it's the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Bears have bigger guards, but outside of that, the two teams are identical. Both programs are at the top of the Big 12 Conference in scoring and three-point percentage, so it's not a surprise that they are one and two in the standings.
West Virginia is surging at the right time, with guards Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil playing their best basketball since arriving in Morgantown, along with Deuce McBride possibly back to full strength and Derek Culver underneath, I suspect West Virginia will be able to handle the Bears. The question is, can the Mountaineers run Baylor off the three-point line? The short answer is yes. West Virginia has improved over the last two weeks, along with rebounding. If the Mountaineers can limit the Bears offensive opportunities to one shot and not continuously open looks, West Virginia will win comfortably.
However, I expect the Bears to have their legs back under them, and it's going to be a war. West Virginia narrowly escapes 71-70.
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