Why Kansas Might Have Trouble With West Virginia

The Mountaineers have been incredible at home this season

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#3 Kansas at #14 West Virginia (18-5)

Wednesday 2/12/20, 7:00pm EST

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TREND: West Virginia is undefeated (14-0) straight-up as the home team this season.

STORYLINE: “The Big 12’s preseason freshman of the year needed just one conference game — against Kansas — to prove worthy of all the hype. ‘Oscar is a grown man. I never played against somebody like that. He’s physically strong, hard to move in the paint,’ KU senior center Udoka Azubuike said of Oscar Tshiebwe, West Virginia’s 6-foot-9, 260-pound freshman from Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Tshiebwe, who will anchor the middle for the Mountaineers in Wednesday’s 6 p.m. Big 12 battle against Kansas at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia, scored 17 points and grabbed 17 rebounds while playing 35 minutes in the Jayhawks’ 60-53 Big 12 opening victory over WVU on Jan. 4 in Allen Fieldhouse. Tshiebwe, WVU’s first McDonald’s All-American to sign with the Mountaineers since Chris Brooks in 1986, scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the first half to Azubuike’s six points and seven rebounds. WVU, which led by as many as 10 points early, held a 30-24 advantage at the break. ‘He was so much better than anybody the first half it was a joke,’ KU coach Bill Self said in calling Tshiebwe a ‘monster.’

The 7-foot, 255-pound Azubuike scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds the second half while helping hold Tshiebwe to two points and seven boards (in 17 minutes) the second stanza. ‘I tried to box him out. He wasn’t moving,’ said Azubuike, who finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots in the victory over Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers. Tshiebwe finished the game with two blocked shots. For the season, Tshiebwe has averaged a team leading 11.5 points (on 58.1% shooting) and 9.1 rebounds (with 28 blocks in 23 games) for No. 14-ranked West Virginia (18-5, 6-4). No. 3-rated KU is 20-3, 9-1. Tshiebwe in 10 Big 12 games has averaged 10.8 points (on 55.9% shooting) and a team-leading 9.6 rebounds (with 13 blocks). Derek Culver, a 6-10 sophomore who scored five points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the first meeting vs. KU, averages 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds a game in conference contests and 10.8 points and 8.9 boards overall.” - Gary Bedore, Kansas City Star (2/11/20)

QUICK-HITTER: Tshiebwe may not have been able to lead West Virginia past Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse last month, but he certainly made an impact. The Mountaineers are undefeated at home this season, but this matchup is a major threat to that record. Will WVU pull off the upset in front of their home fans? Click the button below and access our model’s projection!