College basketball fans are in for a treat when the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (20-3, 9-1) travel to WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, WVa, to face the No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers (18-5, 6-4) Wednesday night in a Big 12 Conference showdown.
Kansas enters the midweek tilt riding an eight-game winning streak, which includes four road wins over conference foes. The Mountaineers are looking to bounce back after suffering a loss on the road at Oklahoma on Saturday.
The Jayhawks will try and sweep the season series after a 60-53 triumph at home over the Mountaineers in January. West Virginia is a one-point favorite in Wednesday’s matchup.
Kansas has won 11 of its last 12 contests, including five straight since the late-game brawl against rival Kansas State. Saturday’s victory over TCU was the Jayhawks’ 20th of the season and career victory No. 700 for coach Bill Self.
Kansas has not dropped a contest away from Lawrence this season other than a one-point loss to Villanova on a neutral court back in December.
The Jayhawks rely on a balanced offensive attack behind sophomore guard Devon Dotson (18.0 points per game) and senior center Udoka Azubuike (13.0 points). Azubuike has recorded 10 double-doubles this season and leads the NCAA in field-goal percentage.
Dotson tallied a season-high 11 assists against TCU on Saturday and has scored in double figures in all but one contest this season. He is shooting 47 percent from the field over the course of the Jayhawks’ winning streak.
Outside of the 12-game suspension for reserve Silvio De Sousa, the Jayhawks enter Wednesday’s contest with all key players available. As a team, the Jayhawks are averaging 75.0 points per game while allowing 60.3 ppg defensively. The scoring defense is good for eighth in the country, while Kansas’ plus-14.7 scoring margin is sixth best.
After dropping its first contest of the 2020 calendar year to the Jayhawks back on Jan. 4, the Mountaineers are 7-3. Coach Bob Huggins is not afraid to go deep into his bench, with 10 players averaging over 10 minutes of action per contest.
West Virginia features one of the nation’s strongest defenses, but its offensive efficiency is troublesome. West Virginia enters with a perfect 12-0 record at home this season.
When the Mountaineers do have the ball, it showcases a balanced offense with two players averaging in double figures and another pair averaging nine-plus points per game. Freshman forward Oscar Tshiebwe (11.5 points per game) and sophomore forward Derek Culver (10.8 points) lead the Mountaineers’ balanced scoring attack.
Tshiebwe does it all for the Mountaineers, as in addition to his scoring output, the talented freshman leads the team in rebounds (209) and blocks (28) this season.
Part of West Virginia’s struggles can be attributed to its troubles from beyond the arc, connecting on just 30 percent of its attempts this season. However, the Mountaineers possess a top 25 scoring defense, allowing just 61.7 ppg.
Reserve Sean McNeil is the only Mountaineer that is questionable for Wednesday night’s tilt due to an illness.
The Pick Is In
WVU Coliseum is a tough venue to win in, and West Virginia’s perfect home record reflects that. However, Kansas has been playing well lately, and its road record shows it is up to the task. We like the Kansas Jayhawks +1.