Kansas basketball has a huge conference game this Wednesday night on the road against West Virginia. The Jayhawks must be ready to meet the physicality of the Mountaineers.
Kansas basketball will have one of their hardest conference games yet this Wednesday night when they travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia. The Mountaineers have built themselves into one of the top defensive teams in the country, and one of the most physical.
West Virginia currently ranks second in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom, behind the Jayhawks who are first. The Mountaineers are coming off a loss though. They were beaten by Oklahoma last Saturday in Norman 59-69.
Per the NCAA, West Virginia averages 19 personal fouls per game. The Mountaineers are one of the most physical teams in the country, and the Jayhawks shouldn’t expect to get too many calls at WVU Coliseum, which is already a tough place to play. West Virginia still hasn’t lost at home yet this season, and the game is reportedly a sellout according to Jon Rothstein.
One of the keys to thwarting the Mountaineers’ physicality and using it against them by getting to the charity stripe and knocking down free throws. The problem is that the Jayhawks only make 67 percent of their chances at the line, so they’ll have to be on their A-game to make Bob Huggins‘ squad pay.
Another factor to keep an eye on this Wednesday is bench depth. Huggins will play 10-11 players in a game, while Bill Self sticks with seven or eight. It’s that depth that allows the Mountaineers to commit so my fouls, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Jayhawks fare against continually fresh bodies. Ultimately, as long as Kansas can stop Oscar Tshiebwe, they’ll have a great chance of getting the road win.
The game could come down to how well Udoka Azubuike can defend Tshiebwe, who dropped 17 points and 17 rebounds earlier this year against the Jayhawks.
As long as the Jayhawks can match the physicality of West Virginia, make 70 percent of their free throws, and contain Tshiebwe, they’ll more than likely come away with a road victory against a top-fifteen team.