In the spirit of Super Bowl Sunday’s plethora of prop bets — Flacco over/under 21 completions? Which team wins the coin toss? Length of the national anthem? — we cast out some unscientific odds pertaining to the remainder of West Virginia’s basketball season:
Final regular-season RPI? Over/under: 80
Following Saturday’s 77-61 disposal of Texas Tech in Lubbock, the Mountaineers’ RPI jumped seven spots to 94. The remaining 10 league games feature an even split of winnable matchups (Texas, Texas Tech, at TCU), pick ’em games (Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, at Baylor), and contests in which WVU will be a sizable underdog (at Oklahoma, at K-State and at Kansas). Do you think WVU can win enough games to reach 80? And while researching your bet, don’t fret the strength-of-schedule component: WVU’s currently ranks 28th nationally and isn’t projected to change come March.
Final number of regular-season wins? Over/under: 14.5
This prop obviously piggybacks on the RPI question, but with fewer calculations required. Basically, you need only to know that West Virginia’s present record stands at 10-11. (I feel certain Bob Huggins would bet big on the over.)
Will WVU end the season with a double-digit scorer? Pick ’em bet.
Aaric Murray is averaging 10.1 points and Juwan Staten is next at 9.9 — and neither started Saturday’s game — so this one could be determined by a few baskets. Both players are trending upward: Murray is averaging 13.3 points during the span of three consecutive double-digit games, with Staten averaging 12.5 in his last two.
How many more regular-season games will Deniz Kilicli start? Over/under: 7.5
We’re assuming he’s an automatic for “Senior Night,” because Huggins really loves the guy as a person. As a player, Kilicli has been frustratingly inconsistent this season, though he has started 17 of 21 games, including the last three. Against Texas Tech, Kilicli was at least back in functional form: He scored nine points on 3-of-5 shooting, made two nice passes out of low-post double-teams and displayed his best defensive sequences of the season, blocking one shot in transition and swatting another while providing help defense. The only downside was a mere two rebounds in 24 minutes.
Will WVU make the NCAA tournament? 25-to-1
Huggins hasn’t missed the NCAAs in the five years since he returned to Morgantown, and like any competitive coach, he still envisions a way for this team to make it back. Unlike many coaches, however, Huggins isn’t bashful about laying out his vision, which he did again Saturday, spelling out designs of getting to 17 or 18 wins and then winning a couple more games at the Big 12 tournament. That’s an ambitious plan, but ambition is why Huggins owns 720 career victories.
Will WVU win the national championship? 600-to-1
This is an actual Vegas line, not some arbitrarily-generated benchmark established for amusement as Dallas/Fort Worth airport. Picking the Mountaineers may seem like blind optimism, but they’re a better value now than back in August, when they were paying only 100-to-1.