West Virginia vs Maryland: Preview and Predictions


After the First Four wraps up, West Virginia and Maryland will kick off Thursday’s action in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. At the time of writing, WVU is a 2-point favorite at BetOnline.


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  • Date: March 16
  • Time: 12:15 EST
  • Location: Birmingham, Alabama
  • Broadcast: CBS

West Virginia

West Virginia endured the gauntlet of the Big 12, going 7-11 in conference play.

Despite a 19-14 record, WVU enjoys top 20 rankings according to KenPom and Torvik.

Coach Bob Huggins returns to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year hiatus, and he has his work in the portal to thank. Huggins added leading scorer Erik Stevenson, second-leading scorer Tre Mitchell, and guard Joe Toussaint this offseason. The Mountaineers run a deep rotation, going ten players deep frequently this season. This, in addition to their positional size advantage, allows West Virginia to crash the offensive glass.

As Huggins-coached teams tend to do, West Virginia uses length to force turnovers on defense, but Maryland will pose a test in this regard.

Maryland

Ex-Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard took over the Terrapins and had a successful first year.

Led by transfer star Jahmir Young, Maryland has shown a high offensive floor throughout the season, mainly due to consistent play from their frontcourt in tandem with Young.

While not the best outside shooting team, Maryland finishes inside. Senior forwards Hakim Hart and Donta Scott, along with Julian Reese, have provided a consistent scoring package that allows for switchability on defense and a myriad of looks inside on offense.

Looking at their record in Quad 1 games, it would seem safe to assume an inability to hang with higher competition. However, four losses were within two possessions, indicating these games were closer to coin flips. 

Check out BetOnline to bet on every matchup in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Players to Watch

Erik Stevenson, West Virginia

Stevenson epitomizes the “no, no, no, YES!” shot selection. He is a great scorer and an underrated facilitator. Props to Stevenson for maintaining his confidence as a shooter over his career, as it was bleak his first three years. If there is a Mountaineer to make a big shot late, expect Stevenson to be that guy.

Julian Reese, Maryland

Jahmir Young is the undoubted best player for Maryland, but I would like to highlight Reese here. His defense and rebounding will be paramount in countering the length and size inside for WV.

West Virginia vs Maryland Prediction

These 8-9 matchups are coin flips. The West Virginia length and size win out against the Terps. The Mountaineers cover the -2.

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