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West Virginia Preview

West Virginia v Villanova Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Morgantown has been a house of horrors for the Jayhawks, and not just if they have been playing the new Fallout game. Kansas has won just once in its last five trips east. This year’s West Virginia team, however, isn’t quite the same as what they’ve had in years past.

Offensively, West Virginia has taken bully ball up a notch. They rank outside the top-200 nationally in every output statistic (aka eFG, TO%, etc) except for offensive rebounding (5th) and getting to the free throw line (17th). But they turn it over on over 20 percent of their possessions, shoot under 50 percent on twos, and shoot under 33 percent from three.

Given KU’s recent struggles on the defensive glass, West Virginia’s path to a victory likely includes rebounding well over 40 percent of their misses and making an above average number of threes.

Defensively, West Virginia is hurt by the absence of preseason defensive POY Sagaba Konate. He’s played in just 8 games this year, and it sounds like he could potentially miss the rest of the season to prepare for the NBA Draft. Their defense has also (obviously) been hurt by the absence of Jevon Carter.

The Mountaineers are forcing turnovers on just 17.5 percent of opponent possessions, which is not only bad for a West Virginia team, it’s bad period (255th nationally). They do a good job of keeping opponents away from the 3-point line, but it comes at the expense of sending teams to the free throw line over and over again.

Players to Watch

Wesley Harris, 6-8 junior forward

The team’s best outside shooter, Harris is over 37 percent for the year. He hasn’t done much else for the Mountaineers this season, but anyone with that kind of size who can shoot it will be someone to watch.

James Bolden, 6-0 junior guard

Bolden currently ranks 2nd in the league in usage and 2nd in 2-point shooting. He isn’t a great passer and obviously doesn’t rebound, but if he were playing more than roughly half the team’s minutes he would be a darkhorse 2nd team All-Big 12 candidate.

Esa Ahmad, 6-8 senior forward

Ahmad has had issues with turnovers this year, but he certainly can score. He had 27 points and 20 points in the two games against Kansas two years ago, although he scored just two combined against the Jayhawks last regular season. He’s a good offensive rebounder and he’ll likely draw some fouls, although he’s shooting just 61 percent from the line this year.

The Pick

This game looks like another game where Kansas will have a semi-comfortable to comfortable lead, and then will have to hold off the other team, so I am going to complain about Fallout 76 some more.

Set in Morgantown, Fallout 76 is warmed over garbage that should be played by nobody. Why they thought a multiplayer online Fallout game, especially one with pvp, would be a good idea is beyond me. It is glitchy and terrible and confusing and bad. I got it for 20 bucks on sale and it isn’t even worth that. I would donate it to a children’s hospital but those kids have had it bad enough already.

Give me Kansas 78, West Virginia 70.