(23) Kansas State at West Virginia
Time: 8 PM (CT), ESPN
Spread: KS -6.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Kansas State Wildcats have won four of its last five to improve to 19-6 on the season. It sits atop the Big 12 standings with a half-game lead over Kansas and Texas Tech. It can better that tonight as it travels to face West Virginia at 8 PM (CT) on ESPN. The Wildcats are 6.5-point favorites in the affair, which has an over/under set at 131.5 points according to NCAA basketball oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Kansas State has held opponents to 60.2 points per game this season, which ranks No. 4 in the NCAA. With an offense that generates just 65.8 per game, the win margin has been slight, but K-State has coasted to what it can make a 20-win season with a victory over West Virginia tonight. The Wildcats are led by Barry Brown Jr. who averages 15.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Dean Wade is the No. 2 scorer at 13.6 points and 6.6 rebounds (team lead), while Kamau Stokes and Xavier Sneed both average 10-plus points per game, as well. After the Wildcats’ top-four scoring options, things fall off in a major way. The team has just two more averaging six-plus points per game and it utilizes a tight seven-man rotation, mostly lacking the kind of depth the better teams use to make a big splash in March.
The Wildcats also averaged just 2.0 blocks per game as a team, a team mostly lacking a major rim protector. The defense is strong on the heels of the perimeter defense applied by Brown and Stokes, mostly. Kansas State also shoots just 33.1 percent from three as a team. Kansas State simply lacks the blowout button that most ranked teams have, given its offense runs primarily through Brown and Wade and lacks other big playmakers.
West Virginia has lost its last three and six of its last seven to fall to 10-15 on the year. The defense has been a huge problem, with WV surrendering 75.4 points per game and ranking near the bottom of D-1A teams at No. 272. It generates 71.4 points per game itself and is a good rebounding team, but the team defense is going to hold this bunch back and is the primary reason it finds itself 6.5-point underdogs on its home court.
The Mountaineers have given up 80 points or more in three of its last seven while giving up 75 points or more in six of those seven games. The team is led by five scorers averaging double-figures, but the best of that is just 13.6 per game from Sagaba Konate. No one sees more than 28 minutes per game, and the Mountaineers use an 11-man rotation. Konate also leads the team in rebounding (8.0 per game), and he is a major shot blocker at 2.8 per game. He played just eight games this season before being lost for the year, and it has dampened any chances that West Virginia had at becoming a better team. He’s a major defensive weapon, but without him, on the court, the team lacks its best scorer and its best defender.
ATS TRENDS (c/o Covers):