The #3 Kansas Jayhawks take on the #14 West Virginia Mountaineers in a key Big 12 battle. These schools have met 18 times in their histories, with Kansas holding a 13-5 series edge.
- Opening Line: Kansas -1 (at DraftKings)
- Current Line: Kansas -1.5
- O/U: 132.5
- Location: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, WV
- Start Time: 7:00 PM ET- February 12th, 2020
- Last Meeting: January 4th, 2020- #3 Kansas def. #16 West Virginia 60-53
The Kansas Jayhawks (20-3, 9-1 conf) aim to keep their regular season Big 12 championship hopes alive in Morgantown. They need a win to remain one game back of the conference-leading Baylor Bears. The Jayhawks have won eight in a row since their home loss to Baylor, including three of their last four by double digits. In the NCAA early bracket reveal, Kansas earned a ton of respect for their overall resume. They were voted the second #1 seed behind Baylor, surprising some who thought they would at least have been behind Gonzaga. However, Kansas’s metrics are eye-popping. They rank #1 in the RPI, #4 in the NET, and #1 in strength of schedule. In addition, they have a whopping ten Quadrant 1 wins.
The Jayhawks struggle mightily from the foul line, as their 66.9% ranks 290th in D-1. In addition, they rank 138th in the country with a 33.9 three-point shooting percentage. Kansas has been dominant all year on the defensive end. They rank first in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency and fifth in effective field goal percentage. They rank at the top in the conference in nearly every statistical defensive category except for turnover percentage. They force opponents to turn the ball over on just 15.9% of possessions, which is good for ninth in the Big 12.
The West Virginia Mountaineers (18-5, 6-4 conf) look to build momentum after an ugly 69-59 loss at Oklahoma in their last game. No team in college basketball will have a bigger week in the regular season than West Virginia has this week. After hosting Kansas on Wednesday night, they travel to #1 Baylor on Saturday. The Mountaineers need at least a split of those two games in order to keep pace with the surging Texas Tech Red Raiders. Entering Wednesday, West Virginia trails Texas Tech by a half-game for third place in the league. The Mountaineers have not lost at home all year, as all five of their losses have come on the road.
West Virginia once again hangs its hat on pressure defense. In conference play, the Mountaineers force a turnover on 24.8% of their defensive possessions, good for first in the conference. They are second in the country in both adjusted defensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage. They rank third in the country allowing opponents to shoot just 27.6% from three-point range. As is a usual trademark of Bob Huggins’ West Virginia teams, they rebound 40.4% of their own misses, good for first in the country.
- Jayhawks are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games as a road favorite.
- Jayhawks are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Jayhawks are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games.
- Mountaineers are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight-up loss.
- Mountaineers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games.
- Mountaineers are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 games following an ATS loss.
- Under is 10-3 in Jayhawks last 13 overall.
- Under is 10-3 in Jayhawks last 13 games as a favorite.
- Under is 5-1 in Mountaineers last 6 games following an ATS loss.
- Under is 6-2 in Mountaineers last 8 home games.
- Under is 4-1 in Mountaineers last 5 overall.
- Home team is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
The first meeting between these two teams was the conference opener for both. That may seem like a lifetime ago, but both teams will certainly find key takeaways as they prepare for the rematch. West Virginia led 30-24 at the half at Allen Fieldhouse. However, Kansas center Udoka Azubuike matched West Virginia big man Oscar Tshiebwe’s physicality in the second half. In addition, key plays by Kansas guards Devon Dotson and Marcus Garrett proved to be the difference.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well in the first matchup. They combined to shoot 6-31 (19.4%) from three-point range. West Virginia committed 16 turnovers, while Kansas had 14 turnovers themselves. Though the Mountaineers were not victorious, they did own a big edge on the glass as they outrebounded the Jayhawks 44-30.
The big question bettors must ask themselves is this: was West Virginia simply looking ahead to the Kansas and Baylor games, or was there loss to Oklahoma a sign of things to come? Frankly, I see this as a perfect buy-low spot for West Virginia. Morgantown is one of the toughest places to play, and their raucous environment should make a big difference in the rematch.
Kansas point guard Devon Dotson miraculously played 40 minutes in their first game. Look for Coach Huggins to use his depth (WV ranks sixth in the country in depth minutes) to throw a number of defenders at Dotson. Making life harder on Dotson is sure to be a focal point, while also continuing to limit Azubuike’s touches. The Mountaineers were a couple of poor late-game decisions from stealing one on the road in their first matchup. They will ride the energy in the building at home to a strong defensive performance and will secure a big win over one of the best teams in the country.