Game 24: No. 3 Kansas at No. 14 West Virginia – Preview and Prediction

The No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks enter Wednesday’s massive showdown with No. 14 West Virginia on an eight-game win streak. At this point, Wednesday’s matchup is almost a must win for the Jayhawks in the Big 12 race, as No. 1 Baylor doesn’t seem to want to lose. KU sits one game back of the Bears in the standings for the Big 12 regular season title. If they fall two games behind, the Jayhawks will need a lot of help from the rest of the league.

  • Wednesday, February 12, 2019, 6:00 pm CDT
  • WVU Coliseum — Morgantown, WV
  • ESPN+ (We will be subjected to Fran Fraschilla)
  • Ten games into the 2020 Big 12 season, Kansas sits alone in second place at 9-1 in the league standings, one game behind Baylor (10-0). West Virginia and Texas Tech are tied for third at 6-4 each.
  • Kansas is vying to win its 10th conference game for the 26th-consecutive season, a streak which started in 1995. The current run of 25 seasons with at least 10 league wins is the longest active streak in the nation.
  • Kansas leads the overall series with West Virginia, 13-5, which includes a 60-53 win on Jan. 4 in Allen Fieldhouse. KU is 2-5 versus WVU in meetings in Morgantown with the Mountaineers claiming five of the last six battles at WVU Coliseum.
  • KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 48.6%, while West Virginia leads in field goal percentage defense at 37.0%. KU leads the league in rebounding defense (32.2), while WVU leads in rebounding offense (41.4).
  • KU head coach Bill Self won his 700th career game at TCU (2/8). He is 700-214 in his 27th season overall, including 493-109 in 17 seasons at KU. Self (57) was the second-youngest coach in NCAA DI history to reach 700 victories. Bob Knight was 56 when he claimed win No. 700.
  • Kansas players lead the Big 12 in six stats: Udoka Azubuike (FG%, rebounding, double-doubles), Devon Dotson (scoring, FTs made), and Marcus Garrett (assist-to-turnover ratio).

Mountaineers to Watch

Oscar Tshiebwe – Freshman, Forward, 6’9″
Tshiebwe was an absolute beast in the first meeting with KU. The freshman had 17 points and 17 rebounds back on January 4. Tshiebwe is nearly averaging a double-double with 11.5 PPG and 9.1 RPG. The matchup between him Tshiebwe and Azubuike will be crucial once again.

Derek Culver – Sophomore, Forward, 6’10”
Culver was kept in check in the first matchup, as he scored just five points on 1-6 shooting, but did grab down 12 boards. It’s hard to expect Culver to have that little of an impact once again. The sophomore forward has been in double-figures in three of the last four games.  

Prediction

I never have a good feeling when playing in Morgantown. This game is their Super Bowl, so the crowd will be without a doubt a raucous one.

That being said, I’m going to go against my gut and pick the Jayhawks. Kansas needs to start fast by making some shots. If they fall behind early and let the crowd get going, it could be over quickly. Udoka Azubuike some how outplayed Tshiebwe in the first matchup by going for 17 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. Azubuike has been on a roll lately and I like that to continue. Azubuike and Dotson bring it pretty much every game, so this depends on who steps up to be that third offensive threat. Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun combined for seven point and 2-8 shooting against TCU. I like one of those two to bounce back against WVU. Another elite defensive effort will lead the Jayhawks to a massive road victory.

Kansas 73, West Virginia 68
KU +1.5

AUDIO PREVIEW: LINK

Season Record: 20-3 (14-9 ATS)

Bobby Norell

My name is Bobby Norell. I'm from a small town in northern Indiana. I recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Sport Communication. Even though my diploma says I'm a Hoosier, my love for the Jayhawks has never wavered. They'll always come No.1.