How West Virginia Fared Against Common Opponents as Kentucky

John Wilmhoffover 6 years

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Aritcle written by:John WilmhoffJohn Wilmhoff

@JohnWilmhoff

  [caption id="attachment_176001" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by Greg Bartram, USA Today Photo by Greg Bartram, USA Today[/caption] West Virginia is 3-3 against four teams who have also faced Kentucky this season. I have confirmed with KSR's own stats guru Aaron Flener that Kentucky is undefeated against the four common opponents. Here are the Mountaineers' results in those contests: WVU lost vs. LSU, 74-73 WVU lost at Texas, 77-50 WVU won vs. Kansas, 62-61 WVU won vs. Texas, 71-64 WVU lost at Kansas, 76-69 in OT WVU won vs. Buffalo, 68-62 Kentucky embarrassed Kansas by 32 points on a neutral court. West Virginia went 1-1 in two close games with the Jayhawks. There's no comparison between the two teams in those games, or the 27-point loss to Texas. In West Virginia's 1-point loss vs. LSU, its win vs. Texas and its win vs. Buffalo, the two teams' results are somewhat comparable. Here is a breakdown of these three games:

Against LSU

West Virginia fell at home to LSU by a point; Kentucky won by two on the road. The Mountaineers shot 34.3% from the field and 29.4% from 3-point range. They forced 24 turnovers and scored 25 points off turnovers, but it wasn't enough.

Against Texas

West Virginia beat Texas by seven at home; Kentucky won by 12 at home. The Mountaineers shot 42.3% from the field and 36.8% from 3-point range. They forced 17 turnovers and scored 22 points off turnovers in the win.

Against Buffalo

West Virgina escaped Buffalo by six in the first round of the NCAA Tournament; Kentucky trailed by five at halftime, but eventually won by 19 at home. The Mountaineers shot 44.9% from the field and 31.3% from 3-point range. They forced 17 turnovers and scored 15 points off turnovers to advance past the Bulls. The one thing West Virginia did well in these three games was forcing turnovers, which it has excelled at all year. Entering the NCAA tournament, the Mountaineers forced 19.6 turnovers per game, most in the nation. They also averaged 20.7 points per game off turnovers, most among major conference teams (according to ESPN Stats & Info). In the 27-point loss to Texas, the Mountaineers' worst game of the year, they only scored eight points off turnovers. The key to defeating West Virginia is clear: take care of the basketball.

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