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West Virginia Preview

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West Virginia v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

Kansas attempts to avenge its most puzzling loss of the season tomorrow when it takes on a West Virginia team that has been outscored by a whopping .24 points per possession in Big 12 play, ranking 10th in offense and 9th in defense.

The offense took even more of a hit when West Virginia booted Esa Ahmad and and Wesley Harris from the team. Because the Mountaineers have had the week off, this will be their first game without the two. The preparation may help, but it might not make much difference.

The Mountaineers do lead the league in getting to the free throw line and rank 2nd in offensive rebounding, but they’re 10th in 3-point shooting, 8th in 2-point shooting, 10th in turning it over, and 10th in free throw percentage. Simply put, they probably won’t score much.

They also haven’t been the West Virginia of old defensively, allowing 111.8 points per 100 possessions in conference play. No longer “Press Virginia,” they force turnovers on fewer than 20 percent of possessions. They retain one relic of their pressing style, however, putting teams on the free throw line more than any other.

They also rank last in offensive rebounding allowed, and 9th in 2-point shooting allowed. It all combines to form a defense that has allowed fewer than 1 point per possession just twice in Big 12 play, the last being in the win over Kansas.

Player to watch

Derek Culver, 6-10 freshman forward

Culver has scored in double figures in seven of the Mountaineers’ conference games this season, and he leads the league in defensive rebounding percentage and fouls drawn. He’s also 3rd in offensive rebounding. It is a bit concerning that he shoots under 50 percent from two given all of the offensive rebounds he gets, but he looks to be a force going forward.

The Pick

I don’t know; West Virginia is bad and Kansas is at home. Unless they fall asleep during the game or something they should win. Kansas 78, West Virginia 64.