Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#651 West Virginia -5.5 vs.
#652 Kansas State 125
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#651 West Virginia University
#652 Kansas State University
14-2
7-9
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72
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The No.12-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers will take on the Kansas State Wildcats at the Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas in a Big 12 Conference clash on Saturday afternoon.

West Virginia has been steadily climbing up the national rankings over the past few weeks. The Mountaineers have built quite a stellar NCAA Tournament resume to this point in the season. They are 14-2 in their first 16 games with eight quality wins and an 8-3 record in Tier-A and Tier-B games. Meanwhile, Kansas State is still searching for its first quality win of the year and its first Big 12 victory after dropping its first four conference contests. Can the Mountaineers avoid an upset on the road against Kansas State on Saturday afternoon?

Mountaineers climb to No. 4 in KenPom Rankings

West Virginia cruised to another double-digit conference win on Tuesday night, defeating TCU at home 81-49. Derek Culver had 17 points and 11 rebounds while Oscar Tshiebwe, Miles McBride, and Jermaine Haley all chipped in 11 points apiece in the win. West Virginia limited TCU to just 31.8 percent shooting from the field and forced 20 turnovers on the night to improve to 3-1 in Big 12 conference play.

Bob Huggins’ squad enters the weekend ranked No. 4 in the latest KenPom rankings and 12th in the latest AP Polls. The Mountaineers have scored 107.1 points per 100 possessions for the season (49th in the NCAA) despite turning the ball over on a whopping 21.4 percent of their offensive possessions (287th in the NCAA). West Virginia has shot just 49.2 percent from inside the arc (164th in the NCAA), 30.3 percent from long-range (290th in the NCAA), and 64.9 percent from the charity stripe as a team (312th in the NCAA) so far this season. However, Huggins’ squad has done a good job making up points on the offensive glass and at the free-throw line. West Virginia owns an offensive rebounding rate of 38.8 percent (3rd in the NCAA) and a free-throw rate of 41.4 percent (14th in the NCAA) through their first 16 contests.

As you might expect from a Huggins’-led team, the Mountaineers enter this matchup ranked among the top defensive teams in the country in several major categories. West Virginia has limited opponents to an NCAA-low 82.6 points per 100 possessions (1st in the NCAA) and an effective field goal percentage of only 39.4 percent (1st in the NCAA). The Mountaineers have also forced teams to turn the ball over 22.0 percent of the time (54th in the NCAA) while holding them to just 23.8 percent shooting from 3-point range (2nd in the NCAA).

Wildcats still searching for first Big 12 victory

Kansas State remained winless in conference place with a 77-63 loss versus Texas Tech on Tuesday night. Cartier Diarra led the Wildcats with 19 points and Xavier Sneed added 14 points in a losing effort. The Wildcats shot just 4-for-14 from deep and committed 20 turnovers to fall to 0-4 in conference play.

Bruce Weber is in the midst of a tough season in Manhattan, Kansas, as the Wildcats enter the weekend with a disappointing 7-9 overall record through their first 16 games. Kansas State is still slotted at No. 103 in the latest KenPom rankings despite dropping 9 of their previous 12 games. The Wildcats have scored only 99.2 points per 100 possessions (198th in the NCAA) while turning the ball over 21.7 percent of the time on offense (297th in the NCAA). They also sport an effective field goal percentage of only 48.3 percent (216th in the NCAA) and have shot just 66.6 percent from the charity stripe as a team (281st in the NCAA) so far this year.

On defense, the Wildcats have given up just 92.9 points per 100 possessions (54th in the NCAA) while forcing opponents to turn the ball over 24.8 percent of the time (10th in the NCAA). However, they’ve slipped a bit defensively during league play, allowing 101.0 points per 100 possessions to Big 12 opponents (7th in the Big 12).

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The Mountaineers should have the edge on both ends of the floor in this game. Kansas State has yet to beat a top-100 opponent and they’ve struggled mightily on offense through their first four league games. Kansas State hasn’t shot the ball at a high percentage and they turn the ball over at a high-rate, which is going to be a recipe for disaster against this Mountaineers’ defense. The Wildcats also give up a ton of offensive rebounds and the Mountaineers rank as the third-best offensive rebounding team in the country. Expect West Virginia to dominate on both ends of the floor en route to covering the spread on the road in this Big 12 Conference clash on Saturday.

Prediction: West Virginia Mountaineers

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West Virginia’s defensive numbers through four conference games have been absolutely ridiculous. They’ve held opponents to just 74.8 points per 100 possessions (1st in the Big 12) while forcing them to turn the ball over 25.3 percent of the time (2nd in the Big 12). The Mountaineers have also held Big 12 opponents to just 19.3 percent shooting from deep (1st in the Big 12) and only 40.8 percent from 2-point range (2nd in the Big 12). Needless to say, points are going to be hard to come by for the Wildcats offense, which ranks near the bottom of the country in several major offensive categories. Take this game to stay under the projected total on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.