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West Virginia Mountaineers vs Kanas State Wildcats Betting Preview

The Big 12 tournament kicks off Wednesday, and the one play-in game features the No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers (15-16), taking on the No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats (14-16). The winner of this game gets No. 1 Kansas on Thursday. This game will be played at the T-Mobile center, with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 pm ET.

These two teams split their two contests during the regular season. West Virginia beat Kansas State at home 71-68 on January 8. The Wildcats returned the favor at home, winning 78-73 on February 14.

In their season finale, West Virginia snapped a seven-game losing streak as they beat TCU 70-64. In the win, Taz Sherman had a game-high 25 points.

Kansas State has struggled down the stretch. After beating West Virginia back in the middle of February, they lost five straight games to end the season. In their finale, they lost 78-71 to Oklahoma at home.

In the loss, Mike McGuirl and Mark Smith combined for 43 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists, but it still wasn’t enough to take down the Sooners.

Kansas State is the slight favorite in this one. They are -115 to win while the Mountaineers’ moneyline sits at -104. The spread features West Virginia +1, and the over/under for total points is 138.5.

More Odds

These two have the worst odds of winning the Big 12 conference tournament. Kansas State is +3200 while West Virginia is +3500.

By The Numbers

Neither of these teams were particularly strong on offense. Kansas State ranks 207th in scoring averaging 69.1 points per game. West Virginia ranks 225th, averaging 68.5 points.

Defensively, it is again Kansas State with the edge. They rank 111th in scoring defense as they are allowing opponents an average of just 67.3 points per game. West Virginia ranks 143rd allowing 68.5 points per game.

Tale of Two Halves For West Virginia

The Mountaineers are hoping that in the postseason, they can play like the team from the first half of the season. After all, the Mountaineers won 13 of their first 15 games, including a home upset over No. 20 Connecticut.

Unfortunately, the Mountaineers lost 14 of their last 16 games to end the season. With the slates “wiped clean,” West Virginia would love to come out strong in conference play.

Leading the Mountaineers is senior guard Taz Sherman. This season, he is averaging 18.3 points on 42.2% shooting. He is also averaging 2.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

The only other player averaging double digits is guard Sean McNeil. In 30 games, McNeil has averaged 12.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game.

Wildcats Trying To Snap Losing Streak

It certainly wasn’t a strong finish to the regular season, but the Kansas State Wildcats will look to pick up a first-round win over West Virginia on Wednesday.

Sophomore guard Nijel Pack has been the focal point of the Wildcats’ offense this season. He is averaging 17.4 points on 45.7% shooting this season. Pack is also adding 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.

The other major contributors for Kansas State are Markquis Nowell (12.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.2 steals) and Mark Smith (12.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists). Unfortunately for Nowell, he is dealing with a hamstring issue and is questionable for Wednesday’s game.

Take West Virginia To Win

As evident by the odds, this one is a bit of a toss-up. West Virginia technically comes into this one off of a win, so they have some momentum, but it isn’t exactly like they are exuding confidence with the way they played in the second half.

The biggest variable in this game is the health of Markquis Nowell. If he is unable to go or isn’t at full strength, that could be a major factor in this game.

Given that, at the very least, West Virginia comes into this one completely healthy, take West Virginia to pull out the victory Wednesday night.

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