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Cincinnati, Kansas Both Missing Key Players as WVU Prepares For Big 12 Tournament



WVU Kansas Big 12
Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

As WVU Basketball is set to play Cincinnati in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament on Tuesday, the Bearcats are likely without big man Viktor Lakhin (ankle) and guard CJ Fredrick (hamstring), as reported by Jon Rothstein.

The winner of WVU-UC will play 6-seed Kansas on Wednesday, who announced starters Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar won’t participate in the conference tournament this week.

West Virginia, who have both defeated Cincinnati and Kansas at home this season, is limping into Kansas City with just one win since Feb. 1. WVU is coming off of a 36-point loss to the Bearcats in the regular season finale as Lakhin and Fredrick missed the game. The Bearcats outscored WVU in the paint 48-14 and out-rebounded the Mountaineers by 14. Lakhin did play in the first matchup on Jan. 31, where he was coming off of injury, recording zero points on 0-of-5 shooting.

Lakhin is averaging 9.8 points and 6.4 rebounds this season while Fredrick, a Kentucky transfer, has appeared in just 15 games with a nagging injury.

Kansas has shown this season that one of their weaknesses is a lack of depth. Now with the Jayhawks fully resting for the NCAA Tournament, their rotation will shorten even further as KJ Adams will have to carry the frontcourt this week. KU went 10-8 in the Big 12 this season, their worst conference record since 1989 while the Big 12 was the Big 8.

Dickinson, who was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, is averaging 18.0 points and 10.8 rebounds while McCullar is averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

West Virginia heads into the Big 12 Tournament as the 14-seed at 9-22 (4-14 Big 12). The Mountaineers will be healthy compared to their upcoming and potentially future opponents as they look to keep their season alive day by day.

West Virginia and Cincinnati will tipoff in the 11/14 game at 3 p.m. on Tuesday in Kansas City.

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