WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (13-12)
at KANSAS STATE WILDCATS (20-6)
Fred Bramlage Coliseum - Manhattan, KS
Tip-off: Monday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Kansas State -11, Total: 127.5
No. 13 Kansas State tries to retain its dominance at home when West Virginia pays a visit to Manhattan, KS on Monday night.
The Mountaineers enter Monday having won four of their past five games, but have dropped three of their past five road games by double-digits. They fell by 27 points at Purdue, lost by 14 at Oklahoma State and after winning at Big 12 cellar dwellers Texas Tech (2-10 in Big 12) and TCU (1-11 in Big 12), suffered a 20-point blowout defeat at Baylor last week. The Wildcats have been outstanding at home this season, sporting a 13-1 SU record, including 8-3 ATS. In their past three home games, Kansas State has blown out Baylor (by 20), Iowa State (by nine) and Texas (by 26). These schools played a thriller in their most recent meeting Jan. 12, with KSU prevailing 65-64 in Morgantown.
Can the Wildcats win and cover the huge spread on Monday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts have been strong in college basketball Best Bets, as StatFox Scott is 61% ATS (14-9) since Feb. 8, while StatFox Gary is 57% ATS (13-10-2) since Feb. 4, improving to an impressive 56% ATS (83-66-3) for Best Bets this season. StatFox Dave is at 52% ATS (133-123-4) for the season.
West Virginia's offense has averaged just 66.3 PPG (201st in nation), due mostly to poor shot selection. The Mountaineers have just 12.4 APG (200th in D-I) leading to 40.9% FG (283rd in nation) and 31.6% threes (252nd in nation). They have also shot horribly from the foul line in the past three games at 63% FT (52-for-83). WVU also plays undisciplined defense with 19.4 fouls per game (287th in D-I) and has a pedestrian +2.0 RPG margin (120th in nation) despite having great size with its 6-foot-10 duo of C Aaric Murray (9.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG) and PF Deniz Kilicli (8.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG). This pair both came off the bench in last month's loss to K-State, with Murray playing pretty well (11 pts, 5 reb, 2 blk) and Kilicli scoring six points (3-of-4 FG) in 11 minutes. But Kilicli exploded on Saturday with a career-high 25 points (9-of-11 FG) plus eight rebounds versus Texas Tech. Freshman SG Eron Harris leads the team with 9.2 PPG this season, scoring at least 10 points in nine of the past 10 games. Since February began, Harris has 15.8 PPG on 47% FG in five games, helping his team win four of those contests. SF Juwan Staten (8.7 PPG, 3.1 APG) and SG Jabarie Hinds (7.9 PPG) are both important to this team, but both shoot less than 40% FG and are a combined 17-for-78 (22%) from three-point range this season. Staten didn't play against KSU due to disciplinary reasons, while Hinds scored 15 points in that meeting, but made just 1-of-6 free throws. Sophomore SG Gary Browne (6.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG) has replaced Staten in the starting lineup recently, but has more fouls (11) than points (9) over the past three games. West Virginia has lost nine straight games versus ranked opponents, including 0-4 SU against Top-25 teams this season.
Kansas State doesn't have a ton of great offensive weapons, leading to just 69.0 PPG (134th in nation) on 43.4% FG (172nd in D-I). But the Wildcats are merciless on the defensive end allowing a mere 59.4 PPG (31st in nation) on 41.4% FG this season. The team's leading scorer is senior SG Rodney McGruder (15.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG) and he has been excellent in the past four games with 17.5 PPG on 48% FG. McGruder had 17 points and six rebounds in last month's win over WVU. Junior G Shane Southwell (8.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.6 APG) had a huge night against the Mountaineers with 17 points (5-of-7 FG, 5-of-6 FT) and four rebounds. And after five straight games of scoring under 10 points, Southwell netted 18 points on a career-high six threes in Saturday's win over Baylor. PG Angel Rodriguez (10.7 PPG, 5.0 APG) has a strong 2.45 Ast/TO ratio (33rd in nation), but needs to do a better job running the offense than he did in Morgantown earlier this season when he had two assists and a season-high-tying four turnovers. His offense has really picked up in the past four games though, as Rodriguez is averaging 18.0 PPG (44% FG). He also has 8.0 APG and 3.0 SPG in the past two contests, dishing out a career-best 10 assists in the win over Baylor. Senior PF Jordan Henriquez (4.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG) also played outstanding basketball on Saturday with 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, upping his season average to 1.92 BPG. Kansas State is seeking its 14th straight home win versus non-ranked schools on Monday.