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KU Predictions: at West Virginia

Our writing team gets together to predict the outcome of tonight's game.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It's late in the season and we are seeing the Mountaineers for the first time.  A bit unusual, but West Virginia seems to have cooled off quite a bit from the start of the season.  Does that give our pickers confidence in the Jayhawks' chances on the road tonight?

KU Chief: I think that KU is pretty obviously a better team than West Virginia. With that said, I HATE just about everything about this game for the Hawks. 1: 2 days rest. 2: In Morgantown (AKA most significant travel of the conference season). 3. WVU's pressure defense is reminiscent of those that have given this team fits. 4. The 9 o'clock start: it may be normal for this team considering all of the Big Monday games they've had, but late after travel is not optimal. 5. This team's hot and cold issues: I don't know that WVU will let KU back into the game in their house if the Jayhawks go cold... I think that KU should win this game, and if they play a 50th-percentile game, they will. However, the outside-the-boundaries stuff makes me think WVU 74, KU 69. I hope I'm wrong.

dnoll5: Bill Self has mentioned that they've been practicing on how to beat the West Virginia pressure, and I hope that the time spent in the past few weeks will be enough. One thing I do know, is that West Virginia is not the most prolific scoring team, but if you give them enough chances without letting them set up their half court offense, they score the ball okay. I think KU will have enough composure to beat the pressure, but it might not be pretty early. Oh, and KU will need to make free throws. They should get to the line plenty of times. For that reason, and the fact that I think Kansas will stifle the Mountaineers' half court offense, I think KU wins. Barely. Kansas 75, West Virginia 73.

If Kansas wins this game, 11 straight is in the bag. fetch has been saying for weeks that he's not afraid of West Virginia, and I'll not argue with him on that. Therefore, using absolutely zero analysis, I'll predict Kansas 85, West Virginia 76.

West Virginia excels at the things that Kansas has had a tendency to struggle with. Relentless pressure from the second you inbound the ball will be taxing for the Jayhawks. A collection of guards that all can penetrate, knock down threes, and put points up are things that have bitten KU this year. If Kansas can break the press and run their offense while making the Mountaineers execute their half court offense, I like our chances. I'm going to say they come prepared and just barely sneak out of Morgantown without having to hear John Denver. With the win, they should grab a stranglehold on their 11th straight. Kansas 78, West Virginia 74.

A quick turnaround on the road against a West Virginia team that plays a style that has proven successful against Kansas this season does not sound like a recipe for success. This is a game that I've been concerned about for a while because the Jayhawks have struggled against presses all season. If they can protect the ball while forcing the Mountaineers into a halfcourt offense, then Kansas can win. I just haven't seen enough evidence they can do that yet, especially on the road in a juiced environment. West Virginia 77, Kansas 74.

Kansas has not looked good against the press in recent games, and a road game against West Virginia is really throwing them into the fire. The Jayhawks have better players, but the quick turnaround, which leaves them with no time to get any last minute practice in against WV's high pressure style, might just prove too much. West Virginia 75, Kansas 73

KU has struggled both years in Morgantown that WVU has been in the big 12. I think they will struggle against the press and he couches will be burning bright. West Virginia 67, Kansas 62

Jim Hammen: Kansas has not performed well against a full court press in limited opportunities, and now they're about to face 40 minutes of it, on the road, on short rest, after a long travel day. I would possibly take the Jayhawks in optimum conditions, but this game is a perfect storm type of situation. It will be close throughout, and come down to the final minutes, but in the end, the Jayhawks come up just short in their attempt to put a complete hammerlock on their 11th consecutive Big 12 title. West Virginia 73, Kansas 70.

misterbrain: So Kansas losing at a middle of the road West Virginia team isn't unheard of, considering it happened last year.  But the middle of the road is better this year, with a much better conference, and this Kansas team struggles mightily on the road.  It will really come down to how much practice against the press KU actually got this last week.  I want to take Bill Self at his word and say they will be ready, but I have a hard time imagining them looking past Baylor.  I'm guessing we see an ugly, turnover-filled game that Kansas can't get a big lead in.  Kansas 70, West Virginia 68