The first game on the Thursday schedule in the first round of this year’s NCAA Tournament is the 8 vs. 9 game in the South Region. That game pits the West Virginia Mountaineers against the Maryland Terrapins, in a game that will be held in Birmingham, AL. Before the ball is tipped on Thursday, keep reading for our NCAA Tournament betting pick for West Virginia vs Maryland.
West Virginia vs Maryland Betting Pick
|ℹ️ The Pick:||West Virginia -2|
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This game will be played at Legacy Arena at BJCC at 12:15 PM ET on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
Why Bet on West Virginia:
✅ West Virginia has been playing better basketball of late, winning three of their last four games, while Maryland has lost three of its last four contests entering the tournament.
✅ West Virginia is the superior offensive team coming into this matchup. The Mountaineers are ranked 15th in offensive efficiency by Kenpom, and they will use their superior scoring touch to get into the second round.
✅ Stylistically, the Mountaineers will speed up Maryland with its willingness to pick up full-court on defense. Maryland ranks in the 300s in adjusted tempo per Kenpom, but they will not be able to play quite so methodically against WVU.
West Virginia Mountaineers: Hoping to Speed Up the Terps
The West Virginia Mountaineers come into the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 19-14, having finished third from the bottom in the Big 12 this season. But they did play some solid basketball late in the year, winning three straight games before getting knocked out of the Big 12 tournament by Kansas. Here, West Virginia will look to continue playing well as they take on the Terps.
West Virginia and their pressure defense will aim to force turnovers in this game. It will also aim to pressure Maryland into playing a quicker style of basketball than they are comfortable with. If the Mountaineers can do that, they could end up in a second round matchup with Alabama, barring any shocking upset for the top overall seed.
Maryland Terrapins: Can Slow and Steady Win the Race?
The Maryland Terrapins sputtered to the finish line of their Big Ten season, losing three of their last four games to close out conference competition. The last of those losses was a 10-point loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament. Now the Terrapins will hope to get back on the right track under the bright lights in the NCAA Tournament.
Maryland will need to prove that they can win away from College Park in order to advance past this West Virginia vs Maryland matchup. They have gone 2-11 in their last 13 games away from XFINITY Center, with their two wins over that span both coming against lowly Minnesota. But the Terps are 3-2 at neutral sites this season, and can’t be counted out here.