The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off their 2nd straight overtime win on the road and come home to play West Virginia in what will likely provide a less intense finish than the game in Ames.. The Mountaineers have lost four of their last five games, and it may be because of the exhaustion caused by the transition to the Big 12. West Virginia has lacked a scoring presence for the entire season and their problem will not be aided when they go Allen Fieldhouse, where the last two teams that have played their averaged only 47.5 points. This game provides Kansas with the chance to prepare their bench players for a tough March ahead while also giving the Jayhawks a chance to solidify their current status as a 1 seed. For West Virginia, this game would mean everything; even scoring more than 50 points would mean something for the Mountaineers.
When: Saturday, March 2, 2:00 PM ET
Where: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence Kansas
No injuries to report.
West Virginia is a guard heavy team, having six that play more than 10 points a game. The backcourt, sadly, is headed by G Eron Harris (9.3 PPG-2 RPG) and followed closely by G Juwan Staten (8.4 PPG-3.2 APG) and G Matt Humphrey (4.3 PPG-2.1 PRG). Other than the fact that these guards start; there is nothing special about this backcourt. No scoring or assisting appeal what so ever.
In a usually offensively futile Big 12 season, West Virginia is just one of the many Big 12 teams that fail to register at least 70 PPG. Harris is the team's leading scorer with just 9.3 PPG. West Virginia has scored over 70 points only twice in the big 12 season and has gone seven straight without reaching that goal. West Virginia is ranked 9th in the Big 12 in FG& with just a .404 mark.
No Injuries to Report
Unlike the Mountaineers, the Jayhawks have a very talented backcourt. G Ben McLemore (15.9-5.4 RPG) leads the backcourt and is followed by G Travis Releford (12.4 PPG-3.8 RPG), G Elijah Johnson (10.2 PPG-4.5 APG) and G Naadir Tharpe (5.4 PPG-2.9 APG). In the Jayhawks overtime win, the backcourt complied 74 of the 108 points scored while shooting the three exceptionally well with a combined mark of 52%.
Weakness: Ball Handling
While recent success would suggest that Kansas has been playing flawlessly, the Jayhawks performances has been anything but. The Jayhawks have had problems handling the ball all season and has not gotten any better throughout the season, if anything it is getting worse. In the Jayhawks last five games, Kansas has committed 69 turnovers, making the Big 12 season total 205. That is a 50.7% increase. On the big 12 season, Kansas has out-turnovered their opponents 13.8 to 11.4.
Trending Up: Everything
If you were to look at just the Jayhawks last five games, you'd think that they were the No.1 team. As far as just scoring defense and offense goes, Kansas has been the best lately. In the Jayhawks last five games, Kansas has been beating teams by an average score of 81.2 to 64, a 17.2 difference. Elijah Johnson scored the highest amount of points by one player in the Bill Self with 39 points. The last Jayhawk to score close to that is a player whose nickname is known as "the truth". The frontcourt and backcourt played spectacularly in the game at Iowa State and even the bench helped by adding 17 points.
Trending Down: Defensive Rebounding
Recently the word "boxing out" has been used a lot and how Kansas isn't doing that. Over in the big 12 season, Kansas has out-offensively rebounded teams 164 to 149. In the last five games Kansas has only a slight offensive redounding edge of 2 (52 to 50). These offensive rebounding combined with careless turnover is what's allowing teams to stay in the game against Kansas recently.
West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins has yet to register a win against Kansas, and a win does not seem like it's in the cards for Huggins this game. Scoring more than 50 points would be a considerable accomplishment for the Mountaineers. With senior night approaching, it would be beneficial if the seniors would focus more on rehearsing their speeches than on this upcoming game, as West Virginia poses absolutely no threat to Kansas. Of course, that is what they said about TCU. Only now it is March.