Monday’s Viewer’s Guide: Kansas and Virginia face tests

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Frank Mason is one of the most improved players in America this season. (USATSI)
Frank Mason is one of the most improved players in America this season. (USATSI)

We’re within one month of Selection Sunday, and Monday features big games for more than one bubble team.

Best game — Kansas (-1) at West Virginia, 9 ET, ESPN: Kansas has pretty much taken control of the Big 12 with a two-game lead over Iowa State and three games or more over the rest. This is the first of two matchups between KU and WVU in the final month, and the Mountaineers are desperate for quality victories because their best two wins are over teams on the fringe of bubble consideration.

Second-best game — Pittsburgh at Virginia (-12): 7 ET, ESPN: In the two games since Justin Anderson’s injury, the Cavaliers haven’t exactly been the model of offensive efficiency, scoring only .94 points per possession. Meanwhile, Pitt just scored 1.43 points per possession in Saturday’s 89-76 win over North Carolina. The Panthers need this road win to get back into the NCAA Tournament picture, as they don’t have another quality-win chance until the ACC Tournament. Should be a fun game.

Another to watch — Seton Hall at Villanova (-16); 7 ET, FS1: With the way Seton Hall is going — the Pirates have dropped four straight and 7 of 9 — this could be a blowout. The Pirates (16-10) are marked by internal strife, but a win (and subsequent sweep) over Villanova certainly would put them back on the NCAA radar. But I can’t see them getting it done against a Villanova that has won its past 19 at home and six straight overall.

Matchup to watch — Frank Mason vs. Juwan Staten: KU point man Mason has been one of the nation’s most improved players this season, scoring in double figures in 21 straight games before Saturday’s win over Baylor. And he’s a really good, active defender who can stay in front of guards on the perimeter. He’ll have his work cut out for him against Staten though, who has been pretty good as West Virginia’s lead guard.

Potential upset: West Virginia can certainly win its game against Kansas, although I’d still lean toward the Jayhawks.

Pick of the night — Kansas -1 over West Virginia: This one could go either way, but there isn’t another line that particularly sticks out, and I think the Jayhawks pull this one out. West Virginia hasn’t been great against tough competition and has lost 3 of 4, so let’s lay the point and go with the Jayhawks.

Other games:

>> Want more college hoops? Top 25 (and one) | Bracketology

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