Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#667 West Virginia vs.
#668 Kansas
Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 1:30pm EST
Written by Blake V.

West Virginia will begin an extremely challenging stretch of games when it travels to No. 9 Kansas on Saturday afternoon. The Mountaineers are coming off consecutive wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma State following their loss to then-No. 17 Texas on New Year's Day. Kansas bounced back from its second loss of the season with a win over No. 15 Iowa State on Tuesday.

Mountaineers beginning difficult stretch

West Virginia continues to win games, but it has still been outside the top 25 for the entire regular season. The Mountaineers won 11 of their 12 non-conference games, including victories over Clemson and then-No. 15 Connecticut—their lone loss during that stretch came against Marquette in a neutral-site game. They opened Big 12 play with a 74-59 loss at then-No. 17 Texas on New Year's Day, failing to cover the spread as 12.5-point underdogs. West Virginia was scheduled to face TCU on Jan. 3, but that game was postponed. It has picked up wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma State over the past week.

The Mountaineers are about to embark on a difficult journey, as they face No. 1 Baylor and No. 19 Texas Tech in their next two games following this trip to Lawrence. They come into this contest ranked No. 205 in effective field goal percentage. The Mountaineers are really struggling from beyond the arc, knocking down 32.0% of their attempts from 3-point range. They will be facing a Kansas defense that is No. 36 in adjusted efficiency. Guard Taz Sherman leads West Virginia with 19.9 points and 2.8 assists per game. Guard Sean McNeil is also in double figures, scoring 14.6 points. Forward Gabe Osabuohien is pulling down a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game.

Kansas looking for another home win over WVU

No. 9 Kansas will be looking to remain near the top of the Big 12 standings on Saturday afternoon. The Jayhawks went 11-1 in non-conference play, with their lone loss coming in a shocking upset against Dayton in November. They bounced back with an eight-game winning streak, picking up wins over St. John’s and Oklahoma State along the way. Their second loss of the season came at then-No. 25 Texas Tech last Saturday, losing to the Red Raiders by eight points. Kansas bounced back with a 62-61 win against No. 15 Iowa State on Tuesday, using a clutch bucket down the stretch to grab the victory.

The Jayhawks are one of the strongest offensive teams in the country, ranked fifth in adjusted efficiency. They are shooting the ball well, listed at ninth in effective field goal percentage. Kansas is knocking down 57.3% of its attempts from inside the arc and is making 36.9% of its attempts from 3-point range. The Jayhawks will be facing a West Virginia defense that is No. 20 in adjusted efficiency. Guard Ochai Agbaji leads Kansas with 20.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Guard Christian Braun is also in double figures, scoring 16.1 points and grabbing 6.2 rebounds.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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West Virginia continues to be one of the most underrated teams in the betting market this season. The Mountaineers have covered the spread in five of their last seven games and have won 10 of their last 11 games overall. They are going to bring confidence into their matchup at Kansas on Saturday. West Virginia is an experienced team and has a height advantage in this game, so it certainly has the recipe for giving Kansas trouble. The Jayhawks have dealt with some turnover issues at times and will be facing a West Virginia defense that is No. 9 in turnover rate.

Prediction: West Virginia +11.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Rating:

If West Virginia is able to cover the spread like I believe it will, this game will likely go under the total as well. The Mountaineers do not want to push the ball in transition, ranked No. 314 in average possession length. They are also struggling from beyond the arc, knocking down just 32.0% of their 3-pointers. Those factors alone make the under a strong play on Saturday, but the Mountaineers’ defense makes this an even better play. They have gone under the total in six of their last nine games. Kansas has gone under in four of its last five games against a Big 12 opponent.

Prediction: Under 142
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Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Blake is also an avid sports being expert and you would not be disappointed in following him on a daily basis. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 
Follow on Twitter @Blake_Vonhagen