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No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 14 Morehead St. preview, picks for first round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The West Virginia Mountaineers and Morehead St. Eagles meet at Lucas Oil Stadium in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Emmitt Matthews Jr. #11 of the West Virginia Mountaineers blocks Jared Butler #12 of the Baylor Bears shotduring a college basketball game at WVU Coliseum on March 2, 2021 in Morgantown, West Virginia. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Update March 19: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 14 Morehead State as of March 19th at 7 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

West Virginia: -13: 51% of action, 59% of bets
Morehead State: +13: 49% of action, 41% of bets

Over 137.5: 51% of action, 59% of bets
Under 137.5: 49% of action, 41% of bets

Update March 18: Here are the updated bet splits for West Virginia vs. Morehead State as of March 18th at 1:30 p.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

West Virginia -13: 52% of handle, 60% of bets
Morehead State +13: 48% of handle, 40% of bets
Over 137.5: 57% of handle, 68% of bets
Under 137.5: 43% of handle, 32% of bets

The West Virginia Mountaineers are riding a two-game losing streak to enter the NCAA Tournament, but they earned the No. 3 seed and will meet the 14th seed Morehead State Eagles a double-digit favorites on Friday, March 19th. This game will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium and tip off at 9:50 p.m. ET on truTV.

No. 3 West Virginia: 18-9 (11-6 BIG 12): At-large

KenPom rating: 27 Overall, 11 Offense, 65 Defense
NET ranking: 24, (7-7 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Miles McBride
Key stat: Junior forward Derek Culver ranks No. 22 in the country in rebounds per game with 9.8.

West Virginia has been about as consistent as it gets in college basketball, as they went through the entire regular season without losing two in a row. The Mountaineers’ success comes on the offensive end especially from three-point range where they are shooting 35.7% from deep, second in the Big 12.

Watch for guards Miles McBride, Taz Sherman and and Sean McNeil to go to the basket often looking to draw fouls. They are all shooting at least 80% from the free throw line.

No. 14 Morehead State: 23-7 (17-3 Ohio Valley): Automatic Bid

KenPom rating: 128 Overall, 214 Offense, 72 Defense
NET ranking: 121 (0-3 VS QUAD 1)
Leading scorer: Johni Broome
Key stat: Morehead State allows just 30.7% shooting on 3-pointers, the best mark in the Ohio Valley.

Morehead State is led by their defense and rebounding ability, as the Eagles were the best in both categories this season in the Ohio Valley. Morehead State turns the ball over 15.3 times per game, so that will need to be cleaned up if the Eagles plan on keeping this game close.

Watch for Morehead State to slow down the pace to limit possessions, which might be their only shot at an upset.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: West Virginia -12
Total: 137.5
Moneyline: West Virginia -1000, Morehead State +650

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: West Virginia
Point total pick: Over 137.5
Pick to Win: West Virginia

The Mountaineers play at a quicker pace than Morehead State, and they’ll be looking to push the tempo. If this game plays more into the Eagles’ style of play, they have a much better chance at covering this spread. Bob Huggins is a good coach and understands the more possessions in this game, the better chance West Virginia has to pull away from the No. 14 seed. Let’s go with the Mountaineers to cover and for this one to hit the over.