West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Kansas Jayhawks Pick

by | Dec 22, 2020 | cbb

West Virginia Mountaineers (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (7-1 SU, 3-4 ATS)

When: Tuesday, December 22, 9 p.m.

Where: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.

TV: ESPN

Point Spread: WVU +2.5/KU -2.5 (Get the best odds >>> - Why bet on games at -110 odds when you could only be having to lay -105? Don’t give the bookie more money!)

Total: O/U 140.5

Last Time Out:

West Virginia beat Iowa State 70-65; Kansas edged Texas Tech 58-57.

About the Matchup:

It’s time for West Virginia to prove it’s for real, which means doing something it’s never done before: win at Kansas. Since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 in 2013, they’ve made eight trips to Lawrence and have yet to leave as a winner. They’ve rarely gotten blown out when they’ve come to Allen Fieldhouse, but they also haven’t come all that close to victory. The only times they’ve been within a basket were 2015 and 2017, which both went to overtime. However, each time, Kansas asserted itself in the extra session, and the result was a Jayhawk win by two possessions or more.

The series has become a tad lopsided in either Lawrence or Morgantown in recent years, as Kansas has now won eight of its past nine against West Virginia. But with the Jayhawks not having their usual raucous crowd at Allen Fieldhouse, there’s never been a better time for Press Virginia to take them down, especially with Kansas still having turnover problems. Can the Mountaineers flip the script?

Scouting the Mountaineers:

One thing’s for sure: if the Mountaineers don’t play a lot better than they did against Iowa State, this game’s going to be one-way traffic in the Jayhawks’ favor. Bob Huggins didn’t even try to pretend that the Mountaineers had played well against the Cyclones, as West Virginia both shot poorly and allowed itself to get outhustled on the glass by an undersized Iowa State squad. The one saving grace for the Mountaineers was turnovers, as forcing 21 Cyclone mistakes kept West Virginia in the game long enough to pull off the win.

But West Virginia cannot afford to have such a poor assist-to-turnover ratio of its own if it’s going to get a win at Kansas. Miles McBride came up big in the second half, but he’s got to get both himself and Derek Culver going earlier if the Mountaineers are going to get a win here. Kansas is too talented for West Virginia to survive another slow start, especially if West Virginia’s going to struggle with shooting again.

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Scouting the Jayhawks:

Give the Jayhawks some credit: they took a punch from Texas Tech and stayed standing, in part because Ochai Agbaji was outstanding from start to finish. The Jayhawk guard made sure that Marcus Garrett’s continued shooting woes wouldn’t cost Kansas in this game, as he drilled four deep shots and gave the Jayhawks just enough of a lift to get a big win.

There’s still reason for concern here, as Kansas hasn’t come close to playing its best game to this point and still has some of the same issues that have plagued it all season long. The Jayhawks still don’t take care of the basketball and still aren’t getting what they need from Garrett. So far, they’re surviving against good teams, which says that there’s another level that they can reach, but it also says that eventually, someone’s going to pick them off, making it tough to trust them.

X-Factor:

Rebounding. West Virginia has to fight for the ball harder than it did in the win over Iowa State. The Mountaineers are more shooting-dependent than rebound-dependent, but they simply cannot allow themselves to get outfought the way they did against the Cyclones. If Kansas gets several extra chances, it won’t matter if the Jayhawks shoot 40 percent or turn the ball over 16 times again. All Kansas needs to win this game is second-chance points, and West Virginia has to make sure not to give them up.

West Virginia will Cover if:

The Mountaineers can take better shots. Shot selection was not great for the Mountaineers in the win over Iowa State, but they got away with it because the Cyclones are a royal mess. Kansas can and will punish West Virginia if they try to force things again. If they’re willing to be patient against the Kansas defense, they will find openings, but being patient isn’t an easy thing to do against a team as good as Kansas.

Kansas will Cover if:

The Jayhawks can clean up the mistakes. Kansas already showed that it could get the job done when it’s not at its best, but giving West Virginia too many opportunities can be a death sentence. The Mountaineers know how to cash in early and often, and if Kansas isn’t making sure that itse possessions end with either points or rebounds, it’s going to be a toough night.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:

I’m not going against Kansas in Lawrence. The Jayhawks have lost one league game at home in the past two years, and the Baylor team that beat them was national championship good. West Virginia’s not quite there. The Mountaineers are Sweet 16 good, but not good enough to get a win in a place like Lawrence. I’ll go with the Jayhawks in a tight one. Did you know that you can bet on games live in-progress while they’re happening? Sometimes this is the best way to bet on a game, especially this year with Covid going on. The best live wagering platform on the web can be found at Bovada Sportsbook. They give you a 50% real cash bonus on your first deposit, rebates on ALL your bets whether they win, lose or draw and offer FAST hassle-free payouts! They’re simply a better option than 99% of the books on the web! Go there now to start enjoying a better experience!