Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 7:00 PM
It was truly a statement result a few weeks ago when West Virginia bullied Kansas 74-63 in Morgantown. West Virginia was a short home underdog, but looked to be the superior team all night. For the visitor, a reminder that this year’s team had a long way to go to live up to past KU standards. And, that’s particularly true on the ROAD, where the Jayhawks struggle to find consistency. A statement win for West Virginia. A statement loss for Kansas.
Tuesday brings the rematch in Lawrence, in a game that will be very important in the Big 12 standings. Even though West Virginia has had some high profile lemons in recent action (a home loss to Texas, and then that awful blowout loss at Florida in the Big 12/SEC challenge), the Mountaineers sit atop the table entering the new week…
Big 12 Standings
West Virginia 8-2
Iowa State 6-4
Everyone Else 3-7 or worse
A road win Tuesday on ESPN…and West Virginia would have a two-game lead over Kansas with a sweep for the tie-breaker! It’s worth noting that those aforementioned losses to Texas and Florida (a non-conference loss that might only influence Dance seeding) are the only recent pointspread blemishes. The Mountaineers are 7-2 ATS their last nine games. Kansas, by the way, is 3-5 ATS over their last eight games. But, it would be 2-6 ATS in regulation because the cover over Kentucky needed extra time. Nobody’s perfect this year in college basketball. West Virginia might actually be the best team in the Big 12!
That sets the stage. Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about the matchup…
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
West Virginia: 112.9 per 100 possessions (#29 in the nation)
Kansas: 116.4 per 100 possessions (#13 in the nation)
We always get our NOTEBOOK numbers from the publicly available database posted by college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy. Our in-house numbers are proprietary for handicapping use. Do-it-yourselfers should be reading kenpom.com for their stats! Kansas has the more efficient of the two offenses. And, they’re more dynamic at home as a general rule where friendly officiating helps them be more aggressive. Slight edge to Kansas on this side of the floor. And, given the potential home/road split issues in play here…potentially an even bigger edge.
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
West Virginia: 90.8 per 100 possessions (#6 in the nation)
Kansas: 94.6 per 100 possessions (#25 in the nation)
Clear advantage for West Virginia…though they did lay a big egg at Florida in terms of defense. No margin for error in this sport! If you don’t bring peak effort, a quality opponent is going to get open looks and make their shots. You’d expect West Virginia to bring peak effort Tuesday in such an important conference game. Kansas ranks very well nationally. But, as we’ve pointed out often on these pages…once you get down to the true elites in the Big Dance, #25 may not be good enough to run the table.
West Virginia: #74
Both teams play more quickly than average…though neither is truly racehorse. Kansas likes to attack the basket when they can. West Virginia’s press is helping them pick up the pace because high turnover counts means more possessions over 40 minutes. For the purposes of this matchup, neither team will be out of its comfort zone.
Against the Spread
West Virginia: 13-7
You knew West Virginia was on a great run. Kansas was actually a big money-maker before that recent 3-5 ATS slide. The market is underestimating a few developments in the Big 12 this season. West Virginia is covering at a 65% rate this season. Kansas has covered 65% when not playing West Virginia!
As we go to press, it’s not known yet whether or not this game will be part of the Tuesday package at NETWORK. JIM HURLEY only releases the very best options to his clients. We preview the top TV games here in the NOTEBOOK. Clients get BIG, JUICY WINNERS (like the Broncos and Under in the Super Bowl!).
You can purchase the final world for Tuesday right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about combination packages through March Madness or the NBA Playoffs, please call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.
More great college basketball previews coming up…
Midweek: Preview…Iowa at Indiana (Thursday night)
Friday-Saturday: Preview…Kansas at Oklahoma
Sunday: Preview…USC at Arizona
Monday-Tuesday: West Virginia at Texas (Tuesday night)
Wednesday: Duke at North Carolina
A very interesting mix of traditional powers and potential 2016 spoilers in that mix. How about Indiana’s resurgence? Is USC ready to rule the Pac 12? And, we’ve all been waiting for Duke/North Carolina!
Football is in the rearview mirror…and NETWORK clients are still basking in the glow of their Super Bowl Sweep. Now it’s time to focus on college basketball for the build-up to March Madness. Keep riding the BIG MONEY gravy train driven by JIM HURLEY!
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