USA TODAY Sports
Can the Jayhawks avoid the curse of the No. 1 ranking on Monday night?
After a week filled with top teams losing, the Jayhawks are now the No. 2 ranked team in the country. They haven't had a slip up since a loss in their second game of the season against Michigan State, beating then-No. 11 Kansas State in a big intra-state showdown last week. Ben McLemore has emerged as possibly the best freshman in the nation, as the 6'5 guard is averaging 16.2 points per game and drilling 45.2 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Kansas has been winning with defense. The Jayhawks' defensive efficiency of 83.6 points per 100 possessions is third-best in the nation. It's sparked by Jeff Withey, who averages 4.3 blocks per game, giving the Jayhawks the second-best block percentage in the nation - they get a rejection on 20.5 percent of opponent's possessions - and the best two-point field goal defense.
That interior defense spells trouble for West Virginia. As a team, they shoot 29.5 percent from three, and none of their best players pose much of a threat from beyond the arc. Bob Huggins' squad hasn't been overly successful - they're 9-10, just 2-4 in conference play - and their strength goes up against Kansas' strength. Nobody's a particularly good scorer, as no player averages over ten points a game, but they do work on the offensive glass and rarely turn the ball over.
The Mountaineers turn to three bigs, Aaric Murray, Kevin Noreen and Deniz Kilicli, and all three will have to do work scoring and on the boards if the Mountaineers want to pull off the upset. It'll be tough against Withey and Kansas' front line, but it's their best shot.
Here's the info on the game and how to catch it:
Kansas Jayhawks (18-1, 6-0 Big 12) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (9-10, 2-4 Big 12)
When: January 28, 9 p.m.
Where: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, West Virginia