Maryland vs West Virginia March Madness Betting Preview

Mountaineers Slight Favorites in Exciting Matchup

The South Region is offering up a solid No. 8 vs. No. 9 game in the matchup pitting Maryland vs West Virginia. The Mountaineers are the higher seed, and the sportsbook responded by making West Virginia -1.5-point favorites. West Virginia is -125 on the moneyline and the total on the game is 140. The game is being played at 12:15 p.m. ET at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. CBS will televise the game. (Note: Odds change frequently, be sure to check for updated lines.)

Maryland: Terrapins Will Slow the Pace

Maryland is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament, making its 30th appearance. This will be the sixth appearance for Maryland since the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The Terrapins advanced to the Final Four in 2001 and 2002.

Maryland is a well-balanced team, ranking No. 35 in adjusted offensive efficiency and No. 33 on defense. Maryland’s lone weakness is its 3-point shooting, which is No. 221 in the country. But the Terrapins only score 29.2% of their points from 3-point range. The Terrapins will slow the game down, ranking No. 312 in adjusted tempo.

How They Got Here

The Maryland Terrapins aren’t playing their best basketball of the season, having dropped their final two regular seasons games. Maryland was expected to receive a bid to the Big Dance after getting 20 wins during the season.

The Terrapins were a solid team against the spread this season. Despite ending the season on a 5-5 ATS run, Maryland finished the season 21-12 ATS.

How Far Will They Go

The Terrapins shouldn’t get settled into their hotel for long. Even with a victory in this one, Maryland will be looking at a game with Alabama on Saturday and the Tide should prove to be too much for the Terrapins to handle. Maryland’s chances of winning March Madness are pretty poor.

West Virginia: Mountaineers Provide Instant Offense

West Virginia is making its 31st appearance in the NCAA Tournament and sixth in the last nine years. The West Virginia Mountaineers have three trips to the Sweet 16 in the past nine years.

West Virginia is going to live or die with its offense, which is ranked No. 15 in the adjusted offensive efficiency rankings. The Mountaineers are a good, not great, shooting team but help themselves out with offensive rebounds. West Virginia is No. 32 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. Getting second and third tries makes up for a lower shooting percentage. Allowing offensive rebounds is the team’s weakness on defense.

How They Got Here

The Mountaineers played in the Big 12 Conference, which was the toughest conference in the nation. West Virginia wasn’t a sure thing but its chances increased when it knocked off Texas Tech in the conference tournament before losing to Kansas in the second round.

The Mountaineers covered five straight games at the end of the season before being thumped by Kansas in the Big 12 Conference tournament. Still, West Virginia finished just 17-16 against the spread on the season.

How Far Will They Go

West Virginia is pretty much in the same situation as Maryland in that it has a tough opening game and then Alabama waiting in the wings. The Alabama Crimson Tide’s defense should simply be too much for West Virginia, so it’s a game or two for the Mountaineers.

Handicapping the Game

Maryland vs West Virginia is a bit of a tough game from a handicapping perspective. Maryland has slightly better numbers but the Mountaineers played a tougher schedule. How much of an impact that had on their stats is tough to tell.

Some may be surprised to see West Virginia favored in the game, but lower seeds will be favored from time-to-time. The Mountaineers were 12-3 in non-conference games and just 7-11 against the Big 12, so you can see how tough the conference is.

It’s not as though the Big Ten is weak, but for the 2022-23 season, there’s the Big 12 and then the other conferences in terms of overall strength.

It’s hard to imagine the moneyline being a factor in this one with the point spread so low. But those liking Maryland may want to look at the moneyline to get better odds.

The Maryland vs West Virginia total of 140 is right where you would expect and tough to call. This is one of the tougher games on the college basketball schedule but would give West Virginia the slightest of nods to get the win.

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