Kansas vs West Virginia Basketball Prediction & Picks: Will there be more Morgantown misery for the Jayhawks?

By | January 7, 2023

After surviving a tough trip to Lubbock earlier this week, Kansas has another one to navigate today as the #3 Jayhawks (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) visit West Virginia (10-4, 0-2 Big 12).

Tonight’s matchup at WVU Coliseum is set for a 6:00 pm ET tip, and you can catch the action on Big 12 Now via ESPN+.

On Tuesday night at Texas Tech, the reigning national champions made the ending much nervier than it should have been, but they left west Texas with a 75-72 win.

KU led 70-60 with just under four minutes left, but Tech rallied to pull within one and had a chance to take the lead inside the final half-minute. But Kevin McCullar came up with a clutch play against his former team, grabbing a loose ball and feeding KJ Adams Jr. for what would be a game-sealing dunk.

Now they visit Morgantown, another place that has been a source of sadness for Kansas numerous times, with West Virginia in need of a pick-me-up after starting conference play with conference losses at Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

Will the Jayhawks survive another tricky trek? Read on for our Kansas vs West Virginia prediction, as well as our picks and analysis for this evening’s matchup.

Kansas vs West Virginia Odds

Game odds are via FanDuel as of Saturday, January 7, 2023, at 12:50 pm ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.

Spread

  • Kansas -1.5 (-106)
  • West Virginia +1.5 (-114)

Over/Under

  • Over 145.5 (-114)
  • Under 145.5 (-105)

Moneyline

  • Kansas -122
  • West Virginia +102

Can the Mountaineers Find Their Shot to Keep Up with Kansas?

Since West Virginia joined the Big 12 a decade ago, the Mountaineers have defeated the Jayhawks six times in ten meetings in Morgantown but are 0-14 in meetings at Kansas and in the Big 12 tournament.

Last season, the Jayhawks picked up a 71-58 win at WVU Coliseum, but the season prior, the Mountaineers picked up their most recent win over KU, a 91-79 win on February 6, 2021.

Scoring 91 points in today’s game would be a most welcome sight for the Mountaineers, who did not shoot well across the board against either Kansas State or Oklahoma State.

Offensive Statistics for West Virginia vs Kansas State & Oklahoma State

  • at Kansas State: 26 of 63 FG (41.3%), 4 of 18 3PT (22.2%), 20 of 38 FT (52.6%)
  • at Oklahoma State: 19 of 52 FG (36.5%), 5 of 18 3PT (27.8%), 17 of 28 FT (60.7%)

While all of those numbers are tough to take in, the free-throw numbers are especially glaring when they lost 82-76 in overtime at Kansas State and 67-60 at Oklahoma State.

Their assist-to-turnover ratio in both games also makes for rough reading, as they had 13 assists but 20 turnovers against Kansas State and nine assists but 15 turnovers against Oklahoma State.

All of those things will need to be better if they are to have a chance at upsetting Kansas.

The Jayhawks may have scored only 69 points in their Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State, but they shot the ball fairly well and kept it up against Texas Tech.

Offensive Statistics for Kansas vs Oklahoma State and Texas Tech

  • vs Oklahoma State: 26 of 56 FG (46.4%), 11 of 23 3PT (47.8%), 6 of 10 FT (60%)
  • at Texas Tech: 31 of 63 FG (49.2%), 11 of 24 3PT (45.8%), 2 of 4 FT (50%)

The lack of free throws is certainly notable. There are going to be games in which the Jayhawks will have to make free throws in key moments, and practice reps and game reps are not the same.

And when it is a weak point–KU enters today’s game 326th in Division I in made free throws per game (10.1) and shooting just 68.6% from the stripe, which is 261st in Division I–game reps can be valuable for March and April.

Kansas vs West Virginia Prediction and Picks

Kansas vs West Virginia Prediction: Kansas to win

Kansas vs West Virginia Picks: Kansas ML (Best Value: BetRivers) & Jalen Wilson over 19.5 points (FanDuel)

If the Mountaineers play to their potential, they can certainly upset the Jayhawks or come close.

But I really like a lot about where Kansas is right now, even if the games against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech were so close.

Other than free throws, they are shooting the ball well, and they are getting contributions throughout the lineup.

After not scoring in double figures in any of their first seven games, Adams has scored in double figures in each of their last seven games and is averaging 12.7 PPG in that stretch.

And Dajuan Harris Jr. was one of the heroes of the Texas Tech win, making five of five from three and leading the team with 18 points, setting career highs in made threes and points.

Also, after having their previous two games come down to the final possession, the Jayhawks will be more than ready for what they will have to face in Morgantown.

As for the prop for Wilson (who is 12th in the country in scoring at 20.6 PPG), he scored only 16 points against the Red Raiders on Tuesday, but he has not gone consecutive games without scoring 20 points this season. So, the value here is great, especially with odds near evens.

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