With Kansas’ 7-foot center Joel Embiid injured, West Virginia has a better opportunity at a major upset Saturday afternoon.
To no surprise, the Mountaineers had their struggles with size this season. Against teams like Texas, Kansas and Baylor, teams known to have an advantage with size and some 7-footers, WVU had issues on the glass and with interior defense.
With Embiid out for the rest of the regular season with a back injury, the Mountaineers should have an easier time on the inside.
To some, Embiid is considered a top NBA Draft pick and has even surpassed his fellow freshman teammate Andrew Wiggins.
In the game against then-No. 19 Texas, Embiid recorded six blocks to go along with 13 points and seven boards in 21 minutes of action.
For West Virginia to have a chance at a monumental upset Saturday, it will need to be able to keep the KU guards from dictating play.
In the first meeting between the Jayhawks and the Mountaineers in the 2013-14 season, KU pulled away late and was victorious, 83-69. WVU allowed Kansas to shoot 55 percent from the field, while only shooting 40 percent from the field and 26 percent from beyond the arc.
WVU will need to make its open shots and contain KU’s guards with Embiid out. While I’m not saying the Jayhawks do not have lots of depth throughout their roster, Embiid is a big-time loss.
The Mountaineers must take advantage of it and try to attack the rim. If Embiid were to play, you could make a strong case for how mismatch issues could potentially affect the result.
For WVU, the loss of KU’s freshman center does wonders. It certainly makes the task of beating regular season conference champion Kansas a bit easier.
But then again, it’s easier said than done.