The WVU Mountaineers basketball team has officially hit their low point for the season.
After losing to Kansas State by five on Monday, the team now sits dead last in the Big 12 Conference at 3-9.
Overall, coach Bob Huggins’ crew has lost nine of their last 10 outings, pretty much ending any hopes of postseason basketball in Morgantown. Of course, the Mountaineers could pull off a miracle run in the conference tournament to earn the automatic bid.
While expectations weren’t incredibly high this year, the team isn’t playing up to par.
WVU has an opportunity to feel good about things with an important contest against No. 6 Kansas on Saturday night. The WVU Coliseum should be rocking as the Mountaineers attempt to pull off the upset.
They will need to play significantly better this time around, as they lost by 26 the first time they faced KU.
Mountaineers lose to Wildcats
Their latest defeat was disappointing because the team was in position to grab a victory. WVU scored 42 points in the opening half and took a seven-point advantage into the break.
Kansas State flipped the script in the second half, outscoring WVU by 12.
The Mountaineers found themselves leading by one at 56-55 before the Wildcats went on a 12-2 run.
Taz Sherman’s jumper around the 2:30 mark closed the game to within a point, but a foul on a three-point shot on KSU’s next possession ended it. KSU hit all three free throws, and the Mountaineers never scored again.
This was a tough one to lose, as WVU knew it had a good chance to get back into the win column. West Virginia sportsbooks had KSU only laying around -3.5 in the point spread at home.
Sherman played nearly the entire game (37 minutes) and led all scorers with 23. Senior guard Kedrian Johnson and freshman forward Isaiah Cottrell also contributed a lot, scoring 28 points combined.
Sophomore Jalen Bridges didn’t shoot particularly well; however, he was a monster on the glass. He hauled in a total of 10 rebounds, with four of those creating an extra possession on offense.
This was one of the few matchups this season where WVU won the rebounding differential. They snagged three more boards than KSU.
The loss brings the Mountaineers’ record for the campaign to 14-11. As noted, they are in a tough position now to try to qualify for March Madness.
If the season ended today, they would be the last seed in the conference tourney, where they would face Oklahoma State in the first round. A win there would likely set a second-round date with the Big 12’s second-place team, Baylor, which is ranked No. 7 in the country.
WVU basketball odds vs. Kansas
To improve its seed to have any chance in the conference tournament, WVU needs a big result this weekend. To beat Kansas, it’s going to need to play much better than in the previous tilt.
Last time out, KU won 85-59 thanks to a huge second half. The Mountaineers trailed by only two going into the break but couldn’t keep it up.
Part of the issue was its leading scorer, Sherman, had one of his worst performances all year. He hit just one of his nine shot attempts, including misfiring on all five of his shots from deep.
Sherman wasn’t the only one who struggled. Bridges and Sean McNeil combined to go 7 of 22 from the field, even though they scored a good portion of the points.
The lone bright star was senior Malik Curry off the bench. He added 23 points and did a tremendous job of getting to the free-throw stripe. Curry connected on all 11 of his free throws.
While there aren’t odds for this game available just yet, Mountain State bettors can expect to see their side receiving a good number of points. KU laid -11.5 for the contest in Lawrence last month.
Something that should help WVU and potentially affect the odds is the team’s record at home. The Mountaineers earned a win in 11 of their 14 home tilts, compared to a dreadful 1-7 away from Morgantown.
Kansas owns a 5-2 record on the road despite losing last time out against No. 20 Texas.
It’s certainly been a down year for WVU basketball, but a win against a program like Kansas can help. According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Mountaineers have about a 31% chance of upsetting the Jayhawks.