Saturday College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for West Virginia vs. Kansas (Jan. 15)
Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: Christian Braun (Kansas)
- The West Virginia Mountaineers (13-2) and Kansas Jayhawks (13-2) meet at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon for a clash between Big 12 basketball contenders.
- Though the Mountaineers and Jayhawks share the same overall record, Kansas is a heavy, 12-point favorite against WVU.
- College basketball betting analyst Doug Ziefel explains why Kansas deserves to be favored that heavily and recommends backing the Jayhawks at home.
West Virginia vs. Kansas Odds
|West Virginia Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
There is no place like Allen Fieldhouse on a Saturday. Bob Huggins and his squad will get the full experience, as the Kansas Jayhawks will host the West Virginia Mountaineers in this Big 12 clash.
The Mountaineers have had an impressive start to begin the season, though one of their two losses came against Texas. Their shorthanded loss to the Longhorns was not pretty, and the heat is about to be turned up starting with this matchup against Kansas.
How the Mountaineers perform in this game will be telling of how far they can go in 2021-22.
Bill Self and his Jayhawks are in need of a rebound performance after their upset loss to Texas Tech. The Red Raiders shut down the high-flying Jayhawks, and Kansas’ struggles carried over to its most recent game against Iowa State.
Kansas escaped with a victory over the Cyclones with a last-second layup. But how will the Jayhawks respond with another defensive challenge on their hands?
West Virginia’s record may be impressive, but its offense has not stood out. The Mountaineers only average 69.7 points per game, which puts them at 265th in the nation.
They are fortunate that their defense surrenders fewer points than that on average. While they may not have the most potent offense, the Mountaineers do possess two players who can catch fire at any moment.
Taz Sherman is the unquestioned motor of this West Virginia team. He averages nearly 20 points per game and has a very high 30% usage rate. Sherman missed the Texas game, which could be the main reason the Mountaineers struggled.
The only semblance of a supporting cast for Sherman has been the work of sharpshooter Sean McNeil. McNeil has increased his scoring average to over 14 points per game — thanks to the help of two recent 20-plus-point outings.
Unfortunately, while his performance may provide a boost for the offense, it is not sustainable when Sherman is in the lineup.
Kansas is not the most imposing defensive matchup, though it is 36th in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom. As seen in other instances, the Jayhawks will hamper the Mountaineers simply by keying in on Sherman.
If West Virginia wants to stay in this one, someone other than Sherman will have to step up.
The Jayhawks’ arsenal of scoring weapons is impressive. The trio of Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun and Remy Martin is enough to give any opposing team nightmares, but there is another man who may be a significant factor in this matchup.
With the arrival of Martin and the emergence of Agbaji, senior forward David McCormack seems to have become the forgotten man in this offense. However, the big man has plenty of game.
In two of Kansas’ biggest wins this season, he posted double-doubles. One of those double-doubles was his best performance of the season to date, as he racked up 17 points and 15 rebounds against Oklahoma State.
McCormack could be in line for another big performance against the Mountaineers. While facing “Press Virginia” is difficult for any team, the Jayhawks are experienced and disciplined enough to break it consistently. Once it is broken, that’s when McCormack’s opportunities will be available.
The key will be for the Kansas guards to push once the press is broken, which will force the West Virginia frontcourt to pick up the ball handler and leave McCormack open in the paint.
He could also give the Jayhawks a massive advantage on the glass, as the Mountaineers are 322nd in offensive rebound rate allowed.
West Virginia vs. Kansas Betting Pick
This matchup has all the makings of a get-right game for Kansas.
The Jayhawks’ offense presents the most firepower that the Mountaineers have seen to date. Not to mention, the Jayhawks will have a raucous crowd supporting them.
The Jayhawks should get the job done thoroughly at home.
Pick: Kansas -11.5 or better
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