College Basketball Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers at #13 Kansas State Wildcats

West Virginia Mountaineers at #13 Kansas State Wildcats
Monday, February 18, 2013, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Fred Bramlage Coliseum – Manhattan, Kansas
Opening Line: Kansas St -10 1/2 (-110)
Current Line: Kansas St -11
Opening Total: 126
Current Total: 126 1/2
Opening Money Line: Kansas State -600 / West Virginia +475
Current Money Line: Kansas State -700 / West Virginia +550


Kansas St isa n 11 point favorite at home against West Virginia. The Wildcats look to remain in first place in the Big 12.
Kansas St is an 11 point favorite at home against West Virginia. The Wildcats look to remain in first place in the Big 12.

The 20-5 Kansas State Wildcats are tied with Kansas and Oklahoma St for the Big 12 conference lead.  All three teams are 9-3. Kansas plays at Oklahoma St Wednesday, so Kansas St must win Monday night at home against the 13-12 West Virginia Mountaineers. The Mountaineers have struggled this season in their first year in the Big 12 after many years in the Big East. West Virginia has a 6-6 conference record and is in 7th place. The Mountaineers will not make the NCAA tournament unless they win the Big 12 tournament. They will struggle to even be selected for the NIT.

Kansas St leads the series 2-1 against West Virginia. West Virginia won last season in Wichita against Kansas St 86-80 in double overtime. Kansas St won in Morgantown last month 65-64. Shane Southwell made 2 free throws for the Wildcats in that game with 21 seconds left to give them the lead, then blocked the potential game winning lay-up with a second left in the game. West Virginia coach Bog Huggins coached the Wildcats for one season in 2006-07. This is his first trip to Manhattan since then.

West Virginia has losses at Gonzaga, Davidson and Oklahoma in tournament in Orlando, at Duquesne, to Michigan in Brooklyn, at home against Oklahoma, Kansas St, and Kansas, and road losses at Iowa St, Purdue, Oklahoma St and Baylor. The Mountaineers have wins over Marist in Orlando, Marshall in Charleston, Virginia Tech, Oakland, at Texas twice, TCU twice, and Texas Tech twice. West Virginia beat Texas Tech 66-64 Saturday in Morgantown. The Mountaineers have won 4 of their last 5 games, but against the 3 worst teams in the Big 12. WVU is 8-13-2 ATS and the total is 10-13 this season.

West Virginia is outscoring teams 66.3-65.6 this season. The Mountaineers are shooting 41.1% from the field and 31.6% from 3 point range. WVU makes 68.8% of their free throws. The Mountaineers allow 36 rebounds per game and give up 34. West Virginia opponents are shooting 43.3% from the field and 35.4% from 3 point range. The Mountaineers average 12 assists, 7 steals, 4 blocks, and 13 turnovers.

Guard Eron Harris averages 9.2 points and 2.1 rebounds. Center Aaric Murray averages 9.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. Gaurd Juwan Staten averages 8.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Forward Deniz Kilicli averages 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds. Jabarie Hinds averages 7.9 points, 2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. Terry Henderson averages 7.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, and an assist. Gary Browne averages 6.6 points, 3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and a steal per game. Matt Humphrey, Keaton Miles, Dominique Rutledge, and Kevin Noreen also get significant minutes.

Kansas St is coached by Bruce Weber. The only losses came to Michigan in the pre-season NIT at Madison Square Garden, and to Gonzaga in Seattle, Kansas twice, and at Iowa St. Michigan, Kansas  and Gonzaga are currently ranked in the top 14 in the country. K-State has key wins over Delaware in New York City, at George Washington, Florida in Kansas City, Oklahoma St, Texas and Oklahoma twice and at West Virginia, TCU, Texas Tech and Baylor 80-60 Saturday. The Wildcats are 10-10-1 ATS and the total is 9-7 this season.

Kansas St is outscoring teams 69-59 this season. The Wildcats are #31 in points allowed. K-State is shooting 43.4% from the field and 36.2% from 3 point range. The Wildcats make 67.3% of their free throws. Kansas St averages  36.1 rebounds per game, and they give up 29.4 per game. K-State opponents are shooting 41.4% from the field and 30.8% from 3 point range. Kansas St averages 16 assists, 7 steals, 4 blocks, and 12 turnovers per game.

Guard Rodney McGruder averages 15 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Guard Angel Rodriguez averages 10.7 points, 5 assists, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. Guard Will Spradling averages 8.3 points, 2.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. Guard Shane Southwell averages  8.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. Forward Thomas Gipson averages 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.  Forward Nino Williams averages 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Forward Jordan Henriquez averages 4.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. Martavious Irving, Adrian Diaz, D.J. Johnson, and Omari Lawrence will also see significant time in the rotation. The Wildcats are deep but don’t have a lot of size. Diaz and Henriquez are the only players over 6′-8″ on the roster.

West Virginia is 4-1 ATS after a cover, 7-19-1 against teams with winning records, 1-4 in Monday games, and 3-12-2 after a straight up win.

Kansas St is 5-1 ATS at home, 7-3-1 against teams with winning records, and 1-4 in Monday games.

West Virginia has yet to beat a team in the Big 12 that isn’t Texas, Texas Tech, or TCU. All three teams are below .500. I don’t see that changing against a Kansas St team trying to stay in first in the Big 12. Kansas St should win this game easily.

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