*As of 5:45pm CT, Dean Wade is expected to “try” to play on his injured foot tonight. I still like this under.*

Can’t help but to think this is too many points.

Kansas State is coming off a loss where they gave up 78 points at home to Iowa State. This is the most points they’ve given up at home since Jan 10, 2018, and the second most points they’ve allowed this season behind the 83 they surrendered to Marquette on the road on December 1.  Due to that fact, I’m expecting a more motivated defensive effort.

Seven times so far this season, Kansas State has allowed opponents to score 65+ points.  Five of those times, they held their following opponent to under 60 points in the next game.  The two opponents that surpassed 60 still only made it to 63 points.

West Virginia has not broken 53 points in three straight games.

Each team has at least two players from the main rotation out.

WVU will be without Esa Ahmad (12 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.8 apg) and Wesley Harris (7.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg), while continuing to be without Sagaba Konate (13.6 ppg, 39.1% 3pt).  James Bolden (12.2 ppg, 2.5 apg, 34.9% 3pt) is questionable but expected to play.  I am unsure as to how healthy he will really be.

KSU will be without Dean Wade (13.6 ppg, 2.9 apg, 41% 3pt) and Cartier Diarra (6.3 ppg, 1.7 apg).

While Wade being out will affect the Wildcat defense, his absence absolutely hinders this offense.

Kansas State games without Wade this season:

55-51 Win vs Southern Miss

69-58 Win vs Vandy

59-58 Win vs George Mason

67-47 Loss vs Texas

63-57 Loss @ Texas Tech

71-69 Win vs West Virginia

Kansas State season average points per game: 65.8

KSU’s defensive weakness is opponent three-point percentage (36.6%), but WVU only shoots 28.5% from three in conference play. Not a single active player for WVU shoots over 35% from three-point range. Kansas State averages 36.1% from three in conference play but overall are a 33.1% three point shooting team.

West Virginia averages 21 ppg from three point range (ranked #236).

Kansas State averages 20.5 ppg from three point range (ranked #256).

Wade

In the first match-up between these two teams this season:

Ahmad and Harris both played for West Virginia.

West Virginia scored 69 points, the third highest point total K-State has allowed this season.

WVU hit 9/20 threes (45%) while Kansas State hit 9/23 threes (39.1%).

That’s 54 points that came from three point range in a match-up between two teams that average only 41.5 points combined from three per game.

The only way that I can see this game going over the total is if it turns into a foul fest, as WVU ranks 329th in defensive free throw rate.  Oddly enough though, K-State ranks 217th in offensive free throw rate, meaning that they are not great at creating contact and getting to the free throw line.

However, even if it does turn into a foul fest, we should see plenty of missed shots from the free throw line.  Both teams shoot under 68% from free throw line in conference play.  Moreover, Wade and Diarra are two of the only three players that shoot over 70% from free throw line for K-State.

Prediction

I am expecting this to be a slow paced game considering how much usage is missing from these teams, and considering that this is a rematch from a 2 point game earlier this season.  I have a hard time seeing 54 points come from the three point line again, and both of these teams are dreadful from the free throw line.  It feels like 131 is too many points in what will potentially be a construction zone with the amount of bricks we see. I think this line should be more like 127/127.5.

 

The Pick: Kansas State @ West Virginia Under 131