The Big 12 Conference Tournament tips off with one first-round game Wednesday from inside the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The winner of this Kansas State-West Virginia contest will have the honor of facing the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in Thursday’s quarterfinals. But no team wants to see its season end, so expect these evenly matched sides to give it their all.
No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats vs. No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Point Spread: Kansas State -1.5
Point Total: 138.5
Both of these teams have been feeling pretty miserable for a while. The Wildcats enter on a five-game losing skid while the Mountaineers are just 4-15 since the start of 2022. However, West Virginia was able to send its seniors out on a high note with a victory over TCU in the regular-season finale. K-State and WVU split their two meetings this season; the Wildcats took the most recent meeting, 78-73, on Valentine’s Day.
If there is one player to watch in this matchup, Kansas State guard Nijel Pack, a first-team All-Big 12 selection and the conference’s Most Improved Player. He averages 17.2 points per game and is one of the nation’s best 3-point shooters at 43.6 percent.
Both of these teams can go cold offensively for long stretches, but if Pack is on his game and if K-State can take care of the ball against West Virginia’s defense, the Wildcats should advance.
The pick: Kansas State -1.5
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