The Big 12 Conference Tournament continues on Thursday with the 9-seed West Virginia Mountaineers (16-16) battling the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (25-6). The winner of the contest will advance to the semifinals and play the winner of the Texas and TCU. Kansas took down West Virginia twice during the regular season.
Thursday’s tip-off is a 3 p.m. EST inside the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, MO. Kansas is a 9-point favorite, and the over-under total is 147.5 points.
What to Know – West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia finished ninth in the Big 12 standings, winning just four of 18 conference contests this season. The Mountaineers won’t find themselves in the NCAA Tournament, but WVU can play spoiler to the Jayhawks’ bid to win the tournament.
The Mountaineers averaged 68.5 points per game, seventh in the Big 12, shooting a conference-worst 41.3% from the field and 32.4% from the 3-point line. West Virginia held opponents to 68.5 points per game, 44.4% shooting from the floor, and 32.2% shooting from deep.
West Virginia lost seven of its last eight games to end the regular season, but the Mountaineers handed the Kansas State Wildcats a 73-67 defeat in the first round on Wednesday. Sean McNeil scored a game-high 21 points, hitting 7-of-10 shots from the field, and Malik Curry came off the bench to add 17. The Mountaineers shot 52.8% from the floor and forced 15 Kansas State turnovers.
The Mountaineers are 14-18 against the spread and 3-1 ATS at a neutral site. West Virginia is 4-1 ATS over their last five contests.
What to Know – #6 Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks are a solid 2-seed if the NCAA Tournament began today, but a run through the conference tournament could push Kansas to one of the four top seeds. Kansas looked shaky to close out the regular season, losing two in a row and winning their final two games by a combined 11 points.
On offense, Kansas led the conference scoring 78.6 points per game behind 48% shooting from the floor and 36.1% from the arc. The Jayhawks were last in the league, surrendering 68.6 points per game, 41.9% shooting from the field, and 29.7% from three.
David McCormack poured in 22 points, leading the Jayhawks to a 70-63 overtime triumph over the Texas Longhorns. McCormack added ten rebounds in the win for his eighth double-double of the year. Jalen Wilson added 17 points and 13 boards, while Christian Braun supplied 13 points, 11 boards.
Kansas owns a 14-17 mark ATS and 2-3 record ATS on a neutral floor. The Jayhawks are 4-1 ATS in their previous five games against the Mountaineers.
The Pick is In
West Virginia lived another day with its victory over Kansas State, and now they face the top team in the conference and one of the top teams in the nation. Kansas might come out a little slow, adjusting to the neutral Kansas City site, but the Jayhawks will use their talent to pull away from Mountaineers in the second half.
Betting Pick: Kansas Jayhawks -9