|Points Per Game||77.8||73.5|
|Field Goal %||42.5||42.9|
|Rebounds Per Game||42.6||37.3|
|Assists Per Game||14.3||14.3|
|Blocks Per Game||4.9||4.7|
|Steals Per Game||5.5||6.6|
Time: 9:00 pm est
Location: Austin, TX (Erwin Center)
Announcers: Lowell Galindo and Robbie Hummel
This will be the 18th meeting between the West Virginia Mountaineers (8-5, 0-1) and the Texas Longhorns. Texas leads the all-time series 9-8. WVU had won four-straight over the Longhorns prior to dropping last year’s overtime match-up 87-79 in Austin.
The Longhorns started off hot and got the nation’s attention starting the season 5-0, including a win over No. 7 North Carolina in the semifinals of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational before they lost to Michigan State in the championship game. Texas went on to lose its next two contests (Radford and VCU), then won the last four out of five as well as winning their Big 12 opener at Kansas State. In the win at Manhattan, Texas was 9-11 from behind the arc in the second half.
Texas head coach Shaka Smart has nine players that sees significant playing time, three of which are freshmen (G Courtney Ramey, F Kamaka Hepa, F Jaxson Hayes).
|Kerwin Roach II||11||29.9||13.6||4.7||4.0||1.5||0.4||1.6||.411||.697||.344|
|Matt Coleman III||13||30.7||10.0||1.5||3.3||0.8||0.2||1.8||.386||.706||.327|
|Royce Hamm Jr.||5||7.8||4.8||3.0||0.0||0.2||0.6||0.2||.615||.727||.000|
West Virginia has struggled to find their identity thus far. It’s partially due to all the injuries this team has endured since heading into pre-season. Two are substantial contributors in Beetle Bolden and Sagaba Konate. Beetle has been playing through a thumb and elbow injury while Sags hasn’t been able to stay on the court with an unspecified knee injury and hasn’t seen any action since the win over Pitt on December 8th.
Freshman Derek Culver has been a force in the middle and has emerged as a “go-to-guy” on the offensive end. In the last two games, he has averaged 11.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Wesley Harris has elevated his game to another level this year. He set back-to-back career highs before having his worst shooting performance of the season in a Big 12 opening loss to No. 11 Texas Tech.
The future has looked bleak at times for the Mountaineers, but team continuity has seemingly been better that last two games. The offense has seen some improvement. However, its been on the defensive end that has seen the biggest strides. WVU held a Texas Tech that came into the game shooting 49.3% from the field to just under 39% Wednesday night.
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins has had a theme in nearly every post-game press conference this season. He has been criticizing the team’s commitment to improve and he’s supplied some epic rants, but he might have had his best metaphor since coming to Morgantown. He’s stated that no one has been putting extra time in and compared having a girlfriend is like the game of basketball.
“Basketball is kind of like a girlfriend. If you don’t pay attention to her, she’s probably going to drift off on you.” Said Huggins. “Basketball is something you got to love. You got to love you got to be committed to, you got to spend time with and when you don’t do that basketball gets mad just like your girlfriend would.”
The frustration for Huggins has boiled over and the Mountaineers starting lineup is going to have a wrinkle in it Saturday night.
“We are going to start a walk-on (Taevon Horton) against Texas, because he was the only guy in the gym before practice.” Explained Huggins.
|West Virginia Statistics|
|Emmitt Matthews Jr.||11||10.5||2.6||2.1||0.5||0.3||0.1||0.3||.375||.647||.000|