Free College Basketball Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers vs Kansas St Wildcats

West Virginia Mountaineers vs Kansas St Wildcats
Intrust Bank Arena – Wichita, Kansas
Thursday, December 8, 2011, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Kansas St -2
Current Line: Kansas St -4
Opening Total: 134 1/2
Current Total: 135 1/2
Opening Money Line: Kansas St -165 / West Virginia +145
Current Money Line: Kansas St -175 / West Virginia +155

Jamar Samuels and the Kansas St Wildcats take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in Wichita Thursday night. The Wildcats are 4 point favorites.

West Virginia coach Bub Huggins returns to Kansas to take on Kansas St, a program he coached for a year. Huggins left the Wildcats to take on his “dream job” of coaching his alma mater West Virginia. Needless to say, there was some animosity from Kansas St and their fans toward Huggins. Huggins’ top assistant Frank Martin took over as the Kansas St coach in 2007 and has built the Wildcats into a national powerhouse that has gone as far as the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament.

West Virginia is 4-2 this season with losses at home to Kent St 70-60 and last Saturday at Mississippi St 75-62. Kansas St is 5-0 this season but hasn’t played a very demanding schedule. The Wildcats toughest game of the season came last Sunday at Virginia Tech, where K-State won 69-61. West Virginia and Kansas St have played only one time in history and that was in 1949. The Wildcats lead the series 1-0 for what it’s worth. The two will be conference rivals in the near future as West Virginia leaves the Big East for the Big 12.

Last Saturday, West Virginia traveled to Starkville to take on then #24 Mississippi St as part of the Big East/SEC Challenge. The Bulldogs were 1.5 point favorites. Mississippi St was up by 2 points at halftime 34-32, and pulled away in the second to win 75-62. The two teams were tied at 52 with just over 7 minutes to play. The Bulldogs went on a 10-2 run to take control of the game and they never gave up the lead after that. The Mountaineers shot 39.7% from the field including 2/15 on three point shots. West Virginia was 14/20 from the free throw line. The Mountaineers had 34 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, and 11 turnovers. West Virginia had 4 starters in double figures but only had 9 bench points. Forward Kevin Jones had 14 points and 9 rebounds. Forward Deniz Kilicli also had 14 points and added 7 rebounds, an assist and a steal. Guard Darryl Bryant had 13 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists. Guard Jabarie Hinds had 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Mississippi St shot 49.1% from the field, including 5/17 from 3 point range. The Bulldogs were 20/24 on free throws. MSU had 29 rebounds, 11 assists, 9 steals, 2 blocks, and 12 turnovers.

West Virginia is outscoring opponents 76-64 this season. The Moutaineers are shooting 47.2% from the field, including 28.1% from 3 point range. West Virginia makes 60.8% of their free throws. The Mountaineers average 40.7 rebounds a game, and have a rebounding margin of +8.2. WVU is averaging 15.5 assists and 15.8 turnovers a game. The Mountaineers average 8.7 steals and 2.8 blocks a game. West Virginia opponents are shooting 41% from the field including 29.9% from 3 point range.

Jones averages 19.8 points, 11.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks a game. He leads the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocks. Bryant averages 14.2 points, 2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1 steal a game. Hinds averages 11.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2.8 steals a game. He leads the Mountaineers in assists and steals. Kilicli averages 11.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists.

Sunday, Kansas St was a 4 point favorite on the college basketball betting line at Virginia Tech in the first road game of the season for the Wildcats. The Hokies took a 6 point lead at halftime, but the Wildcats stormed back in the second half with 47 second half points to win 69-61. The Wildcats shot 41.8% from the field, including 3/13 on three pointers. K-State made 20 out of 33 free throws in the game. The Wildcats had 40 rebounds, 10 assists, 8 steals, 6 blocks, and 12 turnovers. Wildcat forward Jamar Samuels scored 17 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Guard Shane Southwell¬† added 11 points, 3 rebounds, an assist, and and block off the bench. Three K-State players scored 9 points. The Hokies shot 33.8% from the field including 3/18 from 3-point range. Virginia Tech had 37 rebounds and 13 turnovers. In a somewhat ironic twist, on the same day Kansas St beat Virginia Tech in basketball, Virginia Tech’s football team took the spot in the Sugar Bowl that probably should have gone to Kansas St.

Kansas St is outscoring opponents 75-59 this season. The Wildcats are shooting 44.3% from the field including 30% on 3 point shots. KSU makes 64.6% of their free throws. The Wildcats average 41.6 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +3. K-State averages 14.8 assists and 14 turnovers a game. The Wildcats average 5.4 steals and 6.2 blocks a game. Kansas St opponents are shooting 33.1% from the field, including 25.8% on three pointers.

Samuels averages 13 points, and 9 rebounds to lead the team in both categories. Samuels is shooting 40% from beyond the arc. Will Spradling averages 12 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists a game. He makes 38.1% of his three pointers. Thomas Gipson averages 12 points, and 7 rebounds a game. Rodney McGruder averages 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2 assists a game. Jordan Henriquez averages 8.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 3.6 blocks a game to lead the team. Southwell and Martavious Irving average 3 steals a game to tie for the team lead. Angel Rodriguez leads the team in steals with 1.4 a game.

Kansas St is 2-1 against the spread this season and the total is 1-2 this season. West Virginia is 2-2 ATS and the total is also 2-2 this season. The Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS in Thursday games, 5-2 against Big 12 teams, 7-3 in neutral site games as an underdog, 1-5 in neutral site games, 0-5 as an underdog, including 0-4 as an underdog of 6.5 points or less. The Wildcats are 17-6-3  ATS as a favorite of 6.5 points or less, 8-3-1 as a neutral site favorite, 5-2 after a cover, 7-3 against teams with a winning record, and 1-5 in neutral site games.

Though this is technically a neutral site game, there will be many more fans clad in purple and silver than blue and gold. Wichita is only a 2 hour drive from K-State’s campus in Manhattan. Both Kansas St and West Virginia are rebuilding from the elite teams they had recently. However, both play good defense and can score pretty well. I like Kansas St to win this game by double digits.

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