After pulling off their biggest win of the season so far over No. 2 Ohio State, the No. 16 West Virginia Mountaineers are headed to Allen Fieldhouse to tip off their Big 12 Conference schedule against the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks.
The action tips off on Saturday at 4 p.m. on Big 12 Now on ESPN+, the first of five matchups for the Mountaineers that will be shown on the streaming service.
Tip your Saturday off with The Bob Huggins Show!
Before everything gets started in Lawrence, don’t miss an all-new episode of The Bob Huggins Show, airing on Nexstar stations around West Virginia.
Tony Caridi sits down with Coach Huggins to get his feelings after the big win in Cleveland, which saw the Mountaineers topple the Buckeyes 67-59 behind a massive game from freshman Miles “Deuce” McBride.
Warren Baker also joins the program for “Courtside with Bake” to break down the Mountaineers’ play so far and look forward to the beginning of conference play.
Of course, Nick Farrell and Anjelica Trinone will also give us their recap of the Mountaineers’ play so far and preview West Virginia’s conference opener against Kansas.
The Mountaineers have one of the most formidable frontcourts in the Big 12, as Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe are both top-five rebounders in the conference. They may meet their match in the Jayhawks, the Big 12’s top squad in terms of rebounding percentage (their +8.42 margin leads West Virginia’s +7.67).
The Jayhawk frontcourt is led by Udoka Azubuike, a 7-footer who is tied with Tshiebwe as the fifth-best rebounder in the Big 12. His size has been a problem for opponents all season on both ends of the floor — besides his rebounding prowess, he is the team’s second-leading scorer, making a whopping 79.8 percent of his field goals to lead the conference.
The difference in this game could come from either team’s respective guard play. As foul trouble and other issues seemed to slow down the Mountaineers’ big men, Deuce McBride took the game over to lead all scorers with 21 points, with some help from other bench players like Chase Harler, who contributed several clutch buckets throughout the game.
On the defensive end, their focus will be on Devon Dotson, the leading scorer in the conference. The freshman averages 18.75 points per game, and has scored over 20 points in three contests — including a 31-point performance against Dayton.
How to watch
This weekend’s matchup will be shown on Big 12 Now on ESPN+, ESPN’s subscription streaming service. This will be the first of five contests shown on the platform, subscriptions for which cost $5 per month or $50 per year.
The following matchups will also be shown on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ this season: at Texas Tech on Jan. 29, vs. Kansas on Feb. 12, at Baylor on Feb. 15 and vs. Baylor on Mar. 7.
What are the oddsmakers saying?
Lines have not yet been set for this matchup. Check back for an update when they are released.
According to the Matchup Predictor from ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, Kansas has an 83.2-percent chance to take the victory over West Virginia.