Big 12 Ranked Showdown Finds Kansas at West Virginia

west virginia kansas

Willie Bee

Monday, January 15, 2018 1:19 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 1:19 PM UTC

The rivalry between Kansas and West Virginia is new but has quickly become an intense series, and we have a free college basketball pick for their Monday clash.

NCAAB Season Record: 23-28-1 (-6.40)

Kansas Jayhawks at West Virginia MountaineersMy pick: Under 157½Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Kansas and West Virginia have a lot in common, starting with being solid college hoops programs headed up by a pair of legendary coaches. The Jayhawks and Mountaineers are also tied for the Big 12 lead, half of a crowded 4-team bunch that has helped to make the conference one of the strongest groups this season.

I’m more interested in another shared attribute, that being they are coming off tough, down-to-the-wire contests that ended with single point separating Kansas and West Virginia from their opponents. That should have them honed for battle tonight in Morgantown, ESPN airing the 9 PM (ET) tip. One of two ranked matchups on the card, Bookmaker installed the Mountaineers as 4½-point favorites before overnight trading boosted that to -6, and 157 is the early scoreboard hurdle.

Jayhawks 3-1 ATS On Road This Year

Bill Self and the Jayhawks survived an upset bid by Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas almost blew an 11-point lead in the second half by holding on for a 73-72 decision. The Wildcats helped KU out with a 4-minute scoring drought during the final stanza, and Malik Newman’s free throws in the final seconds were just enough to keep the Jayhawks from dropping a second Big 12 game at home.

Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers were not as lucky, coming out on the short end of a 72-71 score in Lubbock against Texas Tech. Ranked No. 2 in the AP and coaches polls, West Virginia was a 4½-point underdog on the NCAA basketball odds and blew a 7-point halftime lead in suffering their first loss since the season opener vs. Texas A&M. A 10-point deficit at the free throw line was a key factor in the outcome, the fourth consecutive ‘under’ winner for anyone playing totals in WVU games.

Rivalry Trends, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

The schools never met on the hardwood until West Virginia joined the Big 12, and the results of their encounters have a huge home-court lean to them. Kansas leads the series 7-4, five of their wins coming in Lawrence while all four of the Mountaineers’ victories came at WVU Coliseum. The teams split last year’s meetings, each winning at home and West Virginia covering both. The Mountaineers are 5-0 ATS against the Jayhawks in Morgantown, four of the five games on this floor falling short of the totals.

One trend the teams do not share is how totals have run in their Big 12 games, the Jayhawks 4-1 O/U and the Mountaineers 1-4. As tempting as taking Kansas and 6 points might be, my free college basketball pick will be an ‘under’ play.

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