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West Virginia and Kansas Meet on Big Monday

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Team Stats

Points Per Game 85.8 82.1
Points Against 70.2 65.4
Field Goal % 51.0 43.0
Rebounds Per Game 36.5 39.6
Assists Per Game 18.2 15.9
Blocks Per Game 4.9 5.1
Steals Per Game 7.4 9.9
Streak W3 L1

 

 

Tip-Off: 9:00 pm est

TV: ESPN

Location: Morgantown, WV  The Coliseum

 

The #6 West Virginia Mountaineers (15-2) host the #10 Kansas Jayhawks (14-3) inside the Coliseum on Monday night.

The Mountaineers are 4-7 all-time versus the Jayhawks and have won four straight at home. The last two games in Morgantown, West Virginia has been won by an average of 13.5 points.

Kansas head coach Bill Self is in his 15th year at the helm. He holds a 430-91 record during his tenure in Lawrence and 199-42 in the Big XII.

Starters:

Senior guard Devonte’ Graham (6’2” 185-lbs) leads the team in scoring (18.4), assists (7.4) and Steals (2.0). He’s known for penetrating the defense, creating contact, and getting to the free throw line, making 88.1% of his free throws. He’s also deadly from three-point range (43.7%).

Senior guard/forward Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (6’8” 205-lbs) is the Jayhawks best all around scorer. He can play inside and out. He is the Jayhawks best three-point shooter (48.0%) and averages 16.5 points per game.

Junior Guard Lagerald Vick (6’5” 175-lbs) is a spot up shooter. He will find his spots along the perimeter and is deadly from mid-range and beyond, hitting 53.7% from the field and 44.9% from behind the arc. He averages 14.9 points per game.

Center Udoka Azubuike (7’0” 280-lbs) is a force in the middle, changing shots in the lane, averaging 1.7 blocks per game and 4.5 in the last two games. Azubuike leads the team in rebounds with 7.7 per game. He can finish around the rim and does it with authority. He is shooting 77.3% from the field, averaging 14.8 points per game.

Sophomore guard Malik Newman (6’3” 190-lbs) finds his points within the offense, averaging 10.7 points per game. Newman isn’t a great outside shooter but his mid-range game is solid.

Kansas is not a deep team, with most of the minutes going to the starters. They did get some relief over the weekend with the NCAA clearing freshman forward Silvio De Sousa (6’9 245-lbs). He only played four minutes against in state rival Kansas State on Saturday.

Freshman guard Marcus Garrett comes off the bench contributing the most minutes off the bench, but, only averages 3.9 points per game. His biggest contribution is rebounding with 4.7 points per game.

Sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot comes into the game averaging 3.8 points per game, 3.1 rebounds, and protects the rim with 1.8 blocks per game.

The match up between West Virginia forward and Kansas center Udoka Azubuike could be the difference in this game. Udoka has a big size advantage on Konate. Sags will have to do his best to deny the entry pass and stay out of foul trouble. Forward Maciej Bender will need to have production for the Mountaineers to stay consistent in the paint.

West Virginia guards Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. can help the bigs underneath by stopping the ball at mid-court. They must keep the ball along the perimeter.

Mountaineer Forwards Esa Ahmad and Lamont West have the size advantages and they will need to take advantage of it. Ball handling and their passing game will need to crisp. If Udoka comes up for help they will need to dish it to the open man on the opposite side.

West Virginia’s shooting will have to improve this game, or they will have to hit the glass on the offensive end of the floor. The Mountaineers have not shot over 40% in the last two games and they will need to shoot better to win this game.

Kansas is not a great defensive team, giving up 70.2 points per game. The Mountaineers should be able to get the offense going.

Teddy Allen has not produced in the last two games, and only played five minutes in the loss against Texas Tech. He didn’t come into the game in the second half and West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said it was due to his, “attitude”.

Forward Wesley Harris may not play. Even though there is no official suspension as of yet, for punching a Texas Tech fan when they poured onto the court after the game. I suspect his minutes will be limited and Esa Ahmad will start in his place. Esa has only scored twenty or more points twice in his career and both games came against Kansas (20, 27).

I think the veteran guards Miles and Carter will pull this team together and get the win over the Jayhawks.

I suspect Esa will have another big game against the Jayhawks in his second game back. He had 18 against Texas Tech on Saturday.

West Virginia is going to wear down the Jayhawk team and win this game late. I don’t believe it will be a double-digit win. This game will come down to the final few possessions.

West Virginia wins 82-78.

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