Maryland vs. West Virginia: 2023 NCAA Tournament Best Bets & Picks

Mar 13, 2023 - 1:31 AM

March Madness is officially here! The 2023 NCAA Tournament Bracket has been announced, and the teams are lining up for the Big Dance. Let’s take a look at the early odds, preview, and predictions for the 2023 NCAA Tournament Round 1 game: Maryland vs. West Virginia.

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2023 March Madness Odds, Preview & Predictions: Maryland vs. West Virginia

Maryland vs. West Virginia Odds, Spread & Match Up Overview

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Maryland 2023 NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

The Terrapins enter the NCAA Tournament as one of the more confusing teams to peg. At home, Maryland was nearly unstoppable, with its only loss coming to UCLA. On the road, the Terps were a completely different team, falling to Nebraska and Ohio State and collapsing against Penn State to finish the regular season. But in neutral-court games against nonconference opponents, Maryland played pretty well, handling Miami and Saint Louis and playing within one possession of Tennessee. Who knows which Maryland team will show up in this tournament?

Maryland ranks in the top 35 both offensively and defensively. Jahmir Young has developed into an elite facilitating guard who has the potential to lead this team deep into the tournament with his ability to get to the hoop. The Terrapins allow a fair amount of looks on the interior, but they avoid foul trouble and rebound at an above-average clip.

Maryland ranks in the top 25 in KenPom, so the Terps appear to be slightly underseeded, and I could see them competing with the best of ’em if they make it past the first round. Kevin Willard leads an experienced squad that takes care of the ball and finds quality shots on most of its possession. “Trust” isn’t a word I’d use for Maryland, but I wouldn’t automatically fade this team either.

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West Virginia 2023 NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

Ranking inside the top 25 in KenPom, the Mountaineers enter the tournament with double-digit losses in a season where they haven’t strung together three straight wins since the calendar flipped to 2023. I have trouble believing this team could win four straight, let alone six straight, despite its lofty analytical rankings among the models.

West Virginia has one of the stranger makeups of any team in the tournament, as its rim-and-three rate ranks outside the top 300, yet the Mountaineers are an offensively based team, ranking inside the top 25 in adjusted offensive efficiency. They excel at the midrange look and capitalize on second-chance opportunities with their high offensive rebounding rate. Their physical defense leads to plenty of steals, and their fourth-ranked strength of schedule should make them prepared for any team they go up against in March. West Virginia’s sub-50th-ranked defense is not without holes, however, as teams reach the charity stripe at a high rate against the Mountaineers. The midrange look is a mini-kryptonite for West Virginia, so facing off against a team like Marquette would not be good for them.

This is an experienced team with an experienced coach in Bob Huggins, but West Virginia didn’t beat any nonconference opponent ranked inside the top 50 this year. We haven’t seen much evidence that the Mountaineers can beat, or even keep up with, the better teams. I don’t know why that would change in the tournament.

Maryland vs. West Virginia 2023 NCAA Tournament Predictions

The committee did a tremendous job of providing some highly intriguing 8-9 matchups, and this showdown between West Virginia and Maryland is no exception. Both teams are capable of giving top-seeded Alabama a run for their money in the Round of 32.

Both the Mountaineers and Terrapins are hard-nosed, physical teams that aren’t great at shooting from the floor. While I believe West Virginia hails from the better conference, the Terrapins have an answer to all of West Virginia’s strengths. The Mountaineers crash the offensive glass, and Maryland is respectable in defensive rebounding. West Virginia gets to the free-throw line at the 20th-best rate in the country, and Maryland does a good job of defending without fouling. West Virginia ranks 51st in turning opponents over, and Maryland ranks 49th in turnover percentage. The Terps are also a top-40 defensive team that defends well inside and out.

That all being said, Maryland has been a remarkably different team away from home. I’ll lean with the Terps but view this game as a true coin flip.

Maryland vs. West Virginia 2023 NCAA Tournament Picks

Pick: Lean Maryland +2.5 (-110)

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