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It’s a quarterfinal matchup in the Big 12 Tournament in the Show Me State. The 10th-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers battle the fourth-seeded #17 Kansas Jayhawks with a berth in the Big 12 Tournament title game on the line Friday night. West Virginia stunned second-seeded #7 Texas Tech 79-74 in the quarterfinals Thursday night. Kansas defeated fifth-seeded Texas 65-57 in their quarterfinal tilt Thursday night. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series 11-5 but the teams split two meetings this season: Kansas claimed a 78-53 home win in the last matchup February 16.
West Virginia Mountaineers Try to Keep Cinderella Ride Going
West Virginia was the worst team in the Big 12 during the regular season but they’ve sprung back to back upsets by dropping seventh-seeded Oklahoma and then second-seeded Texas Tech. The Mountaineers look to keep their improbable ride going as they face the Jayhawks here after improving to 14-19. West Virginia led 27-11 in the early going and held a nine-point edge at the half. The Mountaineers were up 63-47 with 8:33 to play before giving up a 22-5 run to trail by one with 2:03 to go. West Virginia regrouped and closed the game on an 11-5 run to get the victory. The Mountaineers shot 38.8 percent from the field, including seven of 19 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 44-30. Emmitt Matthews Jr. led the Mountaineers with a career-high 28 points and eight rebounds in the win.
— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) March 15, 2019
The Mountaineers average 73.1 points per game on the offensive end of the floor this season. West Virginia pulls down an average of 39.6 rebounds per contest and dishes out 13.2 assists a night. The Mountaineers are below average defensively as they are 305th in scoring defense by allowing 76.5 points per contest. Sagaba Konate is the team’s leading scorer with 13.6 points, eight rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game but played just eight contests this season. He’s been out since December 8 with a knee injury. Esa Ahmad (12 points, 5.8 rebounds), Derek Culver (11.6 points, 10.2 rebounds) and Lamont West (10.7 points, four rebounds) are each averaging in double figures. Wesley Harris, Jordan McCabe, Chase Harler, Brandon Knapper, Emmitt Matthews Jr. and Jermaine Haley each put up at least 4.7 points a game. West Virginia shoots 41.2 percent from the field as a team this season. The Mountaineers shoot 31.8 percent from beyond the arc and knocks down 7.5 triples per game. West Virginia is subpar at the free throw line as they shoot 68.8 percent as a team this season at the stripe.
Kansas Jayhawks Shoot for Big 12 Title Game Berth
Kansas managed to hold off Texas in their quarterfinal matchup to punch their ticket to the semifinals. The Jayhawks improved their mark to 24-8 with the victory and look for a return to the Big 12 title game. Kansas was tied at the half and was tied at 33 with 18:20 to play before reeling off an 11-2 run to go up nine. The Jayhawks saw their lead trimmed to four with 2:44 to play in the game but hung on for the victory. Kansas shot 41.8 percent from the field, including three of 11 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 41-37. Devon Dotson led the Jayhawks with 17 points in the win.
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) March 15, 2019
The Jayhawks are averaging a solid 75.3 points per game this season. Kansas collects 37.8 rebounds per contest and dishes out 13.4 assists a night. The Jayhawks are 151st in scoring defense as they allow 69.7 points per contest this season. Lagerald Vick, who puts up 14.1 points per contest, is second on the team in scoring. Dedric Lawson chips in a team-leading 19.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per contest and Devon Dotson puts up 11.7 points plus 3.5 assists per game. Ochai Agbaji (9.2 points, 4.9 rebounds), Quentin Grimes, Marcus Garrett, Charlie Moore, David McCormack, K.J. Lawson and Mitch Lightfoot all have to contribute on the offensive end of the floor. The Jayhawks shoot 46.3 percent from the field as a team this season. Kansas knocks down 7.3 three pointers a night while sinking 35.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks are dismal at the free throw line as they convert 69.6 percent so far this season. Azubuike suffered a torn ligament in his hand earlier this season and is done for the year. Vick is out indefinitely as he deals with a personal matter and will not return to the program.
- Jayhawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games
- Jayhawks are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 Friday games
- Mountaineers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS win
- Mountaineers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games
- Mountaineers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
West Virginia has upended Oklahoma and Texas Tech but you have to wonder if they have anything left. The Mountaineers were taken to the limit in each of those games and while the underdog prevailed in those games, it’s tough to deal with Kansas. West Virginia beat the Jayhawks by one in Morgantown but was hammered in Lawrence in their last contest. The Jayhawks play tough basketball and they have momentum after downing Texas. Kansas has a good fan base that makes the trip here and that helps give them the momentum to get the victory.
Prediction: Kansas Jayhawks
Full-Game Total Pick
West Virginia has surprised both Oklahoma after surviving a potential game-tying bucket at the buzzer that was ruled a two instead of a three by replay, and then stunned Texas Tech. Still, it’s hard to count on a team that is 316th in field goal percentage and 300th in three-point shooting on the year. You can’t expect a guy like Matthews Jr., who came in averaging just over four points a game, to have a career night again. Kansas isn’t deep but they’re gritty and experienced. The Jayhawks know to be wary of the Mountaineers: can they toll the bell on West Virginia’s Cinderella run?
The over is 4-0 in the Mountaineers’ last 4 games following an ATS win, 6-1 in their last 7 overall, 6-1 in their last 7 vs. Big 12 foes and 5-1 in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. Kansas has seen the over go 5-0 in their last 5 Friday games, 8-3 in their last 11 overall and 8-3 in their last 11 vs. Big 12 foes. After seeing the Mountaineers put up a hefty offensive showing against Texas Tech, this one ends up over the number.