Kansas will host surprising West Virginia on Saturday in what could be a matchup between the two best teams in the Big 12.
Kansas has somehow quietly worked its way to a 10-2 record and the No. 3 ranking in the AP Poll. The Jayhawks are typically a media darling but seem to be an afterthought among casual fans this season despite a resume that includes wins over Colorado, BYU, Dayton, and Stanford.
The only loss the Jayhawks have suffered since an opening-night defeat at the hands of Duke is a loss to Villanova in Philadelphia. No one can fault them for either loss.
Kansas comes into the game led by sophomore point guard Devon Dotson, who is averaging 18 points, 4.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. Over his last six games, he has averaged nearly 20 points per game and more steals (2.8) than turnovers (2.7) per contest.
He has yet to correct his struggles from deep, but you have to believe it will eventually come. The Jayhawks boast two more double-digit scorers in behemoth Udoka Azubuike (13 points, eight rebounds per game) and Ochai Agbaji (11.6 points, 39 percent from three).
West Virginia is one of the more shocking teams in the nation, just a season removed from being one of the most underachieving teams in the nation. At 11-1 and No. 16 in the nation, the Mountaineers have taken no prisoners, boasting wins over Wichita State, Ohio State, Northern Iowa, Pittsburgh, and Rhode Island.
Their most recent success came against an Ohio State team that was playing in its own backyard last weekend. The Mountaineers held one of the most talented offensive teams in the nation to just 0.81 points per possession and beat the Buckeyes 67-59 in Cleveland.
West Virginia is led by a frontcourt of freshman Oscar Tscheibwe and Derek Culver, both of whom average north of 11 points and eight rebounds per game. The most impressive part of the Ohio State win is that neither player played particularly well, with Tscheibwe only logging eight minutes of court time.
Instead, it was Miles McBride that stepped up with 21 points to lead West Virginia. McBride has come on strong lately, averaging 15.3 points per game over his last three games while shooting 6-of-12 from deep.
Kansas is a 9.5-point favorite at home in this one, with the over/under set at 141.5.
Can West Virginia Continue To Climb The Rankings Mountain?
The Mountaineers come into the game 3-3 against the spread in road and neutral site games. Overall on the season, West Virginia has gone under in nine of its 12 games and five of its six road/neutral site games.
In matchup specific trends, the Mountaineers are just 1-6 straight up in their last seven games against the Jayhawks and 1-5 against the spread in their last six.
Kansas Looks To Dominate At Home Again
The biggest trend in this matchup: Kansas is 7-0 straight up against WVU at home in their last seven meetings. The Jayhawks are 20-0 straight up in their last 20 games at Phog Allen.
As far as totals go, Kansas has gone under in eight of its last 12 games.
Pick and Prediction
West Virginia doesn’t win at Kansas. Some things you just really don’t have to overthink. Whether it’s simply Bill Self having Bob Huggins’ number, or just dumb luck, it has held true forever.
It’s not just a West Virginia thing either, as no one wins in Lawrence, Kan., other than the Jayhawks. That said, West Virginia should keep it close. The Mountaineers will cover and play the under.