Date: Monday, January 1, 2017
Tip-off: 5:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, Kansas
Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Tony Caridi & Jay Jacobs)
TV stream: ESPNU (Mark Neely and Bryndon Manzer)
Projected West Virginia Lineup
Daxter Miles Jr.
Projected Kansas State Lineup
Why West Virginia Will Win
Both the Mountaineers (12-1, 1-0) and the Wildcats (11-2, 1-0) are coming off wins in their opening Big 12 games. WVU rallied to beat Oklahoma State on Friday.
Trailing 58-51 with 13 minutes remaining, the Mountaineers went on a 10-0 run to take the lead and fend off the Cowboys down the stretch. It was the 12th straight win for WVU, the longest winning streak since 2006 and the second-longest since 1989.
Freshman forward Teddy Allen came off the bench and scored 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half when the Mountaineers needed an offensive spark. Jevon Carter (17.7 points, 5.4 rebounds) had an uncharacteristically off night. Despite finishing with 12 points, the senior guard made just 2-of-10 from the field and had a career-high eight turnovers.
Daxter Miles Jr. (14.6 points) chipped in 12 points on Friday. Sophomore Sagaba Konate had a strong second half. He scored 13 points, 11 of which came after the half and grabbed nine rebounds. He leads WVU with 34 blocks in 13 games.
Kansas State opened conference play with a 91-75 win over Iowa State in Ames. Dean Wade (14.8 points, 6.5 rebounds) poured in a career-high 34 points in the Wildcats’ victory. Kamau Stokes (14.8 points) added 23 and Barry Brown (14.9 points) had 21.
Those three players make up the majority of Kansas State’s scoring. In last season’s loss to the wildcats Brown, Stokes and Wade were key components in the win. Xavier Sneed (11.4 points) also averages double-figures. Wade is 14-of-31 from beyond-the-arc and will be hard for the Mountaineers to defend.
Kansas State’s two losses come from third-ranked Arizona State and Tulsa. At home, the Wildcats are 7-1 this season. Defensively, Kansas State is sound. They are allowing 63.2 points per contest. WVU has an edge on the boards.
The Mountaineers average 40.8 rebounds per game, while the Wildcats average 33.8. WVU averages 10.5 steals a game while forcing opponents into an average of 20.9 turnovers.
However, the Mountaineers’ defense hasn’t been as good in full-court pressure this year. There has been several occasions where WVU had to switch up their defensive schemes.
But the short turnaround could play in the Mountaineers’ favor. If WVU can shut down Brown, Stokes and Wade, then the Mountaineers fare well. They will need a big game from Konate, who must stay out of foul trouble.
West Virginia 84 , Kansas State 80
Cover Photo Credit: Ben Queen- USA TODAY Sports