#23 Kansas vs #17 West Virginia

#23 Kansas vs #17 West Virginia Road to March Madness | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

No. 23 Kansas is in no danger of missing the NCAA Tournament, but the Jayhawks are not winning another Big 12 regular-season title this year and they could fall out of the Top 25 with a loss at No. 17 West Virginia on Saturday, with WVU as a short favorite on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Kansas at West Virginia NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

On Dec. 22 in Lawrence, Kansas was ranked No. 3 when it beat No. 7 West Virginia 79-65. KU’s Christian Braun had 22 points, including six 3-pointers, and Jalen Wilson hit four 3s and scored 17. Marcus Garrett added 15 points, Ochai Agbaji had 11 points and 10 rebounds, and David McCormack added 10 points and 11 boards as the Jayhawks won their fifth straight against the Mountaineers. Kansas trailed by a point at halftime before Braun and Wilson heated up. Sean McNeil made six 3-pointers and scored 24 points to lead West Virginia, though almost all of his production came in the first half.

“The surprise was they shot it as well as they shot it from the perimeter,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, whose team has lost nine of 10 to the Jayhawks.

Why Bet on Kansas? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Kansas (12-6) won for only the fourth time in six games Tuesday, routing rival Kansas State 74-51. The Jayhawks started with a 9-0 run and did not look back for the entirety of the game. Kansas was in control of the game and dominated in the paint. Kansas also shot 43.3% (29-67) from the field and out rebounded the Wildcats 41-34.

The Jayhawks forced the scoring-challenged Wildcats into seven first-half turnovers, held them to just 2 of 9 from behind the 3-point line and forced Kansas State into more airballs (three) than they managed second-chance points (two). Kansas held the Wildcats without a field goal for the first 5 minutes of the second half, then again for another 5-minute stretch.

Kansas improved to 200-94 against the Wildcats, the most wins by any Division I school over another in men’s college hoops. The Jayhawks have won 15 consecutive games against their longtime rivals in Allen Fieldhouse.

Four Jayhawks scored in double figures this season, marking the fifth time KU had four or more scorers in double digits. When having four or more players with 10+ points, Kansas is 3-1 this season. Junior Ochai Agbaji scored 15 points on 6-of-10 from the field, marking his 16th double-figure scoring game this season and 38th of his career. Junior David McCormack scored 18 points, marking his 23rd-career game in double-figures, including his third-straight and 10th game this season.

Kansas held Kansas State to 51 points, marking the sixth time this season the Jayhawks held their opponent to 59 points or less. Kansas is 6-0 in those games. Kansas only turned the ball over six times, the lowest amount this season and the fewest in a conference game since turning the ball over four times on January 14, 2019.

Why Bet on West Virginia? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

WVU (12-5) was a 76-72 winner at Iowa State on Tuesday. Taz Sherman hit two free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining to clinch it.  West Virginia moved out to a 63-48 lead on a 3-pointer by Sherman with 10:16 to play, but then Iowa State began chipping away.

The Cyclones closed within 74-72 with 1:37 remaining on jumper by Bolton, but Iowa State missed its final four shots and committed a costly turnover. West Virginia made only one of its last seven shots and did not make a basket in the closing 5:46.

Derek Culver with 3:56 left and the Mountaineers leading by four. West Virginia made nine of its final 11 free throws and finished the game 17-of-24 for 70.8%.

“This team doesn’t hold leads very well,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said afterward. “They stop guarding, relaxed and let their guard down. There were instances when they missed some, the ball bounced off the rim and our guys never moved.”

Sherman had 18 points and Culver contributed 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for his Big 12-leading ninth double-double of the season and the 25th of his career. The Mountaineers swept the season series against Iowa State and have now won five straight and 10 out of their last 12 regular season games against the Cyclones.

West Virginia begins a stretch of six-straight games against Top 25 teams vs. Kansas.

Expert Prediction
  • West Virginia 71, Kansas 69
 
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