3 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence
ESPN; KCSP (610 AM)
•ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (14-9, 6-4 Big 12):
The Mountaineers are starting to find their footing in the Big 12 after struggling through year one in the league. The turnaround has started with junior guard Juwan Staten, who is averaging 18 points, six rebounds and six per assists per game. Last year, Staten averaged just 7.6 points and 2.9 boards per contest. Amazingly, Staten is playing more than 40 minutes per game in Big 12 play. “He plays bigger than his standing height,” KU coach Bill Self said. “He’s strong, and of course he puts so much pressure on you with the ball coming at you.” Staten’s main wingman in the backcourt is Eron Harris, who is averaging 17.5 points while shooting 42.7 percent from the field.
Kansas is coming off one of its most impressive defensive performances of the season, holding Baylor to a season-low 52 points and 29.1 percent shooting in Waco on Tuesday. The Jayhawks should face another tough test in West Virginia, which ranks 27th nationally in offensive efficiency. Bill Self praised freshman Wayne Selden’s defensive work in shutting down Baylor sharpshooter Brady Heslip. This time, Selden will probably be forced with the task of covering West Virginia marksman Eron Harris. “I wouldn’t put us against some of the great defensive teams we’ve had here in the past,” Self said. “But I’d certainly put us in a category that we can get really good, and we’re not quite there yet.”
The Jayhawks are trying to improve to 9-1 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2010-11. KU has also won 111 straight against unranked foes at home. If Kansas holds serve at home, it should be in great shape in the Big 12 race.