#10 West Virginia (19-4, 8-2) at #6 Kansas (19-4, 7-3)
When: Tuesday, February 9th 2016
Where: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN2
The West Virginia Mountaineers have a chance to keep their slim lead atop the tight Big 12 Conference when they visit the sixth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday night. West Virginia has four of their last five thanks to a smothering full-court defense that has been shutting down opposing guards. The Mountaineers came away with an 80-69 win over Baylor on Saturday, holding Baylor stars Taurean Prince and Rico Gathers to just 15 combined points on 6-of-26 shooting. West Virginia has won three of the past four meetings against Kansas including a 74-63 home victory on January 12th. Guard Jaysean Paige led all scorers with a career-high 29 points in that game and went 14-of-17 from the foul line. WVU shot only 33.3% for that game, but forced Kansas into 22 turnovers, while the Mountaineers only turned it over ten times. Paige leads the team in scoring (14.2) and is averaging 17.8 in his last five. Devin Williams has been great in the interior with averages of 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds, while sophomore guards Jevon Carter (10.8) and Daxter Miles Jr. (10.2) also average in double-digits. West Virginia will get TCU on Saturday before playing Oklahoma and Texas next week.
Kansas broke a three-game road losing streak on Saturday by beating TCU 75-56 behind Perry Ellis’ 23 points and 10 rebounds. It was the first double-digit rebound game for Ellis since January 9th. Ellis is averaging 20.2 points and shooting 62.9% from the field over the past five games to raise his team-best averages to 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds. Junior guards Wayne Selden Jr. (14.5 points) and Frank Mason III (13 points, 4.7 assists) are also key contributors and guard Devonte’ Graham averages 10.7 points. Brannen Greene (6.5 points) played just one minute against TCU as he was pulled due to a defensive lapse – after being publicly scorned by head coach Bill Self for dunking in the final seconds of last Wednesday’s 77-59 victory over Kansas State. Kansas is a perfect 13-0 at Allen Fieldhouse this season and are 3-0 lifetime there against West Virginia. Kansas is tied with Texas for third place in the Big 12, but are just one game behind the Mountaineers. Kansas will have a huge game on Saturday against second place and third-ranked Oklahoma.
West Virginia is getting way too many points in this game. They have proved they can beat this Kansas team and if I believe they can win, then I’ll take the points in a second.
Pick: West Virginia +7