- West Virginia upset #2 Ohio State at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse 67-59 in their last game
- As the #1 ranked team, Kansas fell to then-#18 Villanova 56-55 at Wells Fargo Center on Dec. 21
- West Virginia has hit the under in nine of their 12 games this season – check our betting preview below for a prediction
The #16 West Virginia Mountaineers (11-1, 2-1 away) will try to play spoiler for their second game in a row as they take on #3 Kansas Jayhawks (10-2, 6-0 home) in Lawrence, Kansas on January 4th at 4pm ET.
West Virginia is coming off an inspirational upset, taking down #2 Ohio State 67-59 in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Kansas took care of business in their last game against Stanford 72-56 but were upset by then-#18 Villanova 56-55 in Philadelphia in their game prior.
In the opening West Virginia vs Kansas odds, the Jayhawks are pegged as 10-point favorites. Not only is this the Big 12 basketball opener, but it has massive implications for both teams ranking in the 2020 NCAA tournament odds.
#16 West Virginia vs #3 Kansas
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at BetOnline|
|West Virginia||+10.0 (-112)||+410||O 141.5 (-105)|
|Kansas||-10.0 (-108)||-550||U 141.5 (-115)|
*Odds taken January 4, 2020.
West Virginia proved in their upset win 67-59 over Ohio State that they still deserve the nickname “Press Virginia”. The Mountaineers held an Ohio State offense that has averaged 77.6 points per game to their first sub-60 point outing this season.
West Virginia outscored Ohio State 36-22 in the second half to erase a six-point deficit. After giving up 59 points to the Buckeyes, the Mountaineers are now allowing just 62.0 points per game this season. According to the KenPom Ratings, their Adjusted Defensive Efficiency is 87.4, which is ninth-best in the country.
West Virginia has not had a terribly hard schedule thus far. Other than Ohio State, they’re strongest competitors have been St. John’s, Wichita State, and Rhode Island.
Kansas will be a tough test for this team, which means Oscar Tshiebwe (11.8 PPG) and Derek Culver (11.0 PPG) will have to be forces on the offensive end. Tshiebwe logged just eight minutes after getting into foul trouble early against Ohio State, but it was freshman Miles McBride who stepped up and dropped 21 points.
Bill Self’s Jayhawks
Despite losses to Duke and Villanova, Kansas has had a great season. A two-point loss to Duke in their home opener, and a recent one-point loss to Villanova are not losses Bill Self and the Jayhawks should get too discouraged about.
Kansas has allowed just 60.6 points per game against ranked opponents this season. According to the KenPom Ratings, their Adjusted Offensive Efficiency is 111.8, which is 12th best in the country.
Their offense has been led by sophomore guard Devon Dotson (18.8 PPG) and senior forward Udoka Azubuike (13.0 PPG). Not only have they been tremendous on the offensive side of the ball, but both players have had stout defensive seasons. Dotson is averaging 2.3 steals per game, while Azubuike is averaging just under two blocks per game.
— Dana Dotson (@d3dotson) December 31, 2019
Despite losing two out of their three games against ranked opponents, Kansas has played very well defensively in those games. All have been very close, with all three of them going under the listed total. Kansas could be coming into this matchup with one of their best defensive teams in a couple of years.
Kansas has dominated this matchup in years past, winning six of the last eight against West Virginia. Kansas also holds a 5-3 ATS record against the Mountaineers in those last eight games. However, with how good both defenses have been playing I think it’s best to focus our attention on the total.
The under has hit in four of their last five matchups. In the last four years, Kansas and West Virginia’s first season meeting has gone under every time. West Virginia is on a five-game under streak, while Kansas’ last two games have gone under the total against the likes of Villanova and Stanford.
The under is 6-1 in the Jayhawks last seven games against teams with a win percentage over .600. Not to mention, the under is 9-4 in the Jayhawks last 13 games as a favorite.
With how closely both teams have played ranked opponents, I believe this game will go under the total. Bill Self and Bob Huggins are experienced in these high-profile games and tend to have defensive gameplans that work very well.
The pick: Under 141.5 (-115)
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