Date: Thursday, March 8, 2018
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri
Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Tony Caridi & Jay Jacobs)
TV stream: ESPN2 (Dave Flemming, Robbie Hummel and Kris Budden)
Projected West Virginia Lineup
Daxter Miles Jr.
Projected Baylor Lineup
Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.
Why West Virginia Will Win
The Mountaineers and Baylor have met two times this season and WVU won both games. The Mountaineers finished the season tied for second with Texas Tech. However, WVU is coming off an overtime loss to Texas where the Mountaineers lacked energy. WVU is led by a duo of senior guards Jevon Carter (17.0 points and 4.8 rebounds) and Daxter Miles Jr. (12.1 points). The Bears’ bench has been clutch for them this season. Since Jan. 30, Baylor has out-scored opponents 336-125 (28.0 ppg to 10.4 ppg) in that 12-game span. Big 12 Sixth Man Award winner Terry Maston (10.8 points, 5.6 rebounds) has been the biggest reason why. He has out-scored opposing benches 158-125 since Jan. 22. However, the Mountaineers held the senior forward to just five points on 2-of-10 shooting during the regular season. Manu Lecomte leads Baylor in scoring, averaging 15.7 points. Against WVU last time out, the senior scored 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting. Jo Lual-Acuil is another threat. He averages 14.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest. The Mountaineers are a team that can cause mayhem but they are notorious for blowing big leads. They are looking to change that this weekend. WVU is forcing its opponents to turn it over on 23.1 percent of their possessions, second in the country. Sagaba Konate (10.8 points, 7.9 rebounds) has been a force down low for the Mountaineers but the sophomore needs to remain on the court and out of foul trouble. He has posted 101 blocks this season. WVU will need a big game from junior Esa Ahmad (10.3 points, 5.1 rebounds). Over the last three contests, Ahmad has picked up two double-doubles while looking more like the player of past seasons. He has been a threat on the boards. After back-to-back second place finishes in the tourney, the Mountaineers are hungry to win their first conference tournament title since 2010.
West Virginia 78 , Baylor 74