The West Virginia Mountaineers are still looking for their first Big 12 victory of the 2018 season. Things won’t get any easier for West Virginia this week, as they host the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday afternoon. Kansas is looking to continue their historic reign in the Big 12 Conference, and they look like the favorites again this season.
West Virginia has lost their first five Big 12 Conference games of the season. The Mountaineers are just 8-9 on the season and look to be in real danger of finishing below the .500 mark. The Jayhawks bring a 15-2 record into this contest and are once again ranked in the top-10. Kansas has gotten off to a 4-1 start in Big 12 play.
“Press” Virginia Not Working Anymore
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is known for his relentless pressing defense, but that has not been the case this season. The Mountaineers are giving up 73.9 points per game so far this season, which is near the bottom of college basketball teams. The lack of turnovers forced by West Virginia has also hurt their offensive attack. The Mountaineers are averaging just over 65 points per game in conference play.
There are five different players averaging in double-figures for West Virginia, but they lack a true star. Sagaba Konate leads the team with 13.6 points per game but has not played in conference games due to injury. Esa Ahmad is the best scorer for West Virginia, but his 12.8 points per game won’t get the job done. The Mountaineers have struggled to shoot the ball this season, making just 42 percent of their shots. West Virginia will need to score to keep up with Kansas.
Jayhawks Surviving Without Azubuike
The Kansas Jayhawks will be without star center Udoka Azubuike for the remainder of the season, but they haven’t missed a beat without him. The Jayhawks might not be as explosive on offense without the big man, but they still have a ton of weapons. Kansas is averaging close to 79 points per game this season while holding opponents to just 70. If the Jayhawks can break through the West Virginia press, they should find some easy buckets.
Dedric Lawson and Lagerald Vick have stepped up their games in the absence of their teammate. Lawson is having a monster first season at Kansas, averaging 19.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Vick is one of the best shooters in college basketball and is pouring in over 15 points per game. If the Jayhawks are going to win another Big 12 title, it will be these players leading them.
Kansas Gets Road Win
This would be a monster victory for West Virginia, and could possibly propel them back into the Big 12 race. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, they are way overmatched in this game, and Kansas will have little trouble handling their press. Look for the Jayhawks to win this game in blowout fashion and move to 5-1 in conference play. Bet the Kansas Jayhawks over the West Virginia Mountaineers.