Big 12 NCAA Basketball: Wildcats @ Mountaineers Preview

February 18, 2019 by Ryan Knuppel

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Kansas State WildcatsKansas State and West Virginia meet Monday night in a Big 12 showdown. West Virginia leads the all time series 10-6, but Kansas State won the previous matchup this season 71-69.

Kansas State is coming off a 78-64 loss to #23 Iowa State at home on Saturday. Last Saturday (2/9) they beat Baylor 70-63 on the road, and on Tuesday (2/12) they beat Texas 78-64 on the road.

West Virginia is coming off a 78-53 loss to #14 Kansas on the road on Saturday. On Monday (2/4) they lost to #18 Texas Tech on the road 81-50, and last Saturday (2/9) they lost 75-53 at home to Texas.

On the season, Kansas State is 14-11 ATS, 6-3 ATS on the road, and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games. On the season West Virginia is 9-16 ATS, 7-10 ATS at home, and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games.

Intertops has Kansas State as 7.5 point favourites with an O/U total of 133.5.

West Virginia Mountaineers

(10-15 overall, 10-7 at home, 2-10 in conference)

West Virginia averages 71.4 PPG, 39.1 RPG, 12.8 APG, 6.2 SPG, 4.0 BPG, and 16.2 TPG. As a team they shoot 41.0% from the field, 68.2% from the free throw line, and 30.8% from 3 point range. Defensively they hold opponents to 75.4 PPG, 34.7 RPG, 44.6% shooting from the field, and 35.2% shooting from 3 point range.

James Bolden has become the central focus of this team, and he puts up 12.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.5 APG and 1.1 SPG while shooting 40.9% from the field, 82.0% from the free throw line, and 34.9% from 3 point range. Derek Culver is now the de facto #2, averaging 11.5 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.5 APG and 0.7 BPG while shooting 48.0/56.7/0.0. Lamont West chips in 9.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 0.6 SPG. Brandon Knapper (5.3 PPG/1.7 RPG/1.5 APG), Chase Harler (5.0 PPG/1.1 RPG/1.1 APG), Jermaine Haley (3.6 PPG/3.0 RPG/1.9 APG/0.8 SPG) and Emmitt Matthews (2.9 PPG/1.9 RPG/0.5 APG) have been forced to contribute more.

Key Injuries

F Sagaba Konate (knee) – out, F Esa Ahmad (disciplinary)- out, F Wesley Harris (disciplinary) – out, G James Bolden (ankle) – questionable

#18 Kansas State Wildcats

(19-6 overall, 5-4 on the road, 9-3 in conference)

Kansas State averages 65.8 PPG, 33.8 RPG, 13.8 APG, 7.4 SPG, 2.0 BPG, and 11.8 TPG. As a team they shoot 43.0% from the field, 65.7% from the free throw line, and 33.1% from 3 point range. Defensively they hold opponents to 60.2 PPG, 31.6 RPG, 41.8% shooting from the field, and 32.2% from 3 point range.

Barry Brown Jr. leads the way with 15.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.9 SPG while shooting 45.8% from the field, 67.0% from the free throw line, and 33.0% from 3 point range. Dean Wade would be a huge loss if he doesn’t play, as he averages 13.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.9 APG and 0.8 SPG while shooting 50.5/80.3/41.0. Kamau Stokes contributes 10.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.3 APG and 1.3 SPG. Xavier Sneed (10.0 PPG/5.6 RPG/2.1 APG/1.3 SPG), Makol Mawien (6.6 PPG/2.3 RPG/1.7 APG/1.0 SPG), Mike McGuirl (3.5 PPG/1.4 RPG/1.1 APG/0.7 SPG) and Austin Trice (1.7 PPG/2.7 RPG/54.5% from the field) chip in as well.

Key Injuries

F Dean Wade (foot) – questionable, G Cartier Diarra (hand) – out

Predictions

This West Virginia team is nothing like they thought they would have at this time of the year, losing potential NBA lottery pick Konate to injury and key pieces Ahmad and Harris to dismissals. Because of this, they are really hurting for remaining production and experience, with Bolden and Culver being their only established scorers.

In their last 3 games, the former 2 of which still included Ahmad and Harris, the Mountaineers are averaging a paltry 52 PPG, and own an average scoring margin of -26 in those 3 games. If extrapolated over a full season, both would be worst in the NCAA by a fair margin. Now Kansas State aren’t exactly world beaters themselves, and are considerably less dangerous on offense without Dean Wade, but they are well balanced on both sides of the ball, offering a top 5 scoring defense and an offense that relies on penetration and mid range shooting.

Don’t be surprised if WVU rallies after such a disappointing string of performances, but realistically K State, even sans Dean Wade, should run all over this depleted WVU team.

Final Pick: #18 Kansas State Wildcats (-8)

Ryan Knuppel

Ryan Knuppel Author

Ryan (aka Knup) has been writing sports betting content for over a decade now. He covers anything and everything related to United Stats sports including football, basketball, baseball, golf and more. He has finished first place in several gambling related contests over the years which gives him instant credibility in the betting world. Ryan is a die-hard St. Louis...

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