When and where: 4:00 pm E.T. Allen Fieldhouse (ESPN)
Matchup to watch: The matchup to watch in this big-time game is the battle of the frontcourts. The Kansas’ frontcourt is led by senior Udoka Azubuike. The 7’0 big-man from Nigeria is averaging 13.0 points per game to go with 8.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Azubuike has hauled in at least five rebounds in all but one of Kansas’s games this season. He leads the conference with an outstanding 79% field goal percentage. When Kansas is at its best, Udoka Azubuike is a key part of the success. He will be a challenge for West Virginia all day on the boards and stopping him in the post.
For West Virginia, their frontcourt is led by freshman standout, Oscar Tshiebwe. The center has had an outstanding start to his college career. He is averaging 11.8 points, leading the team, and 8.8 rebounds, second on the team. Tshiebwe did not play a big part in the Mountaineers upset over Ohio State last weekend as he was in foul trouble all game. If West Virginia wants to take down another top-five opponent, they need Tshiebwe to be in this game. If he is in foul trouble like he was against Ohio State, the Mountaineers will get abused by Udoka Azubuike. They need Tshiebwe to come up big on offense and defense on Saturday.
Picks to click: Kansas Jayhawks- Devon Dotson West Virginia – Sean McNeil
For Kansas, there is no doubt who the best player on their team is. Devon Dotson is one of the best players in all of college basketball and has been the star for the Jayhawks this season. The sophomore from North Carolina has done it all, averaging 18 points and 4 rebounds and assists a game. In their loss to Villanova, Dotson had one of his poorest performances of the season. That will not be the case on Saturday however, as I believe he will put up a great game against the Mountaineers.
For West Virginia, Sean McNeil has been a sparkplug in some of their biggest wins. The same was true last Sunday when McNeil scored 12 points in the Mountaineers upset over the Buckeyes. In a big game on the road, three-point shots are extremely valuable. McNeil is by far the best shooter on the West Virginia team, and they will need him to hit a few if they want to pull off the upset on Saturday.
Game Prediction: West Virginia 68 Kansas Jayhawks 77
I think this will be one of the best games of both team’s seasons, but ultimately the Jayhawks come out on top. I think West Virginia will have a hard time keeping up with Devon Dotson, and will struggle to score enough to keep pace. I think its a close game till about four minutes left when Kansas starts to pull away.