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Five Things to Know Before WVU vs. Baylor

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Photo: Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

As West Virginia strides into its Big 12 gauntlet, the program will welcome No. 5 Baylor to the WVU Coliseum on Tuesday night.

National Champs Retooled Their Roster

Following the program’s first national championship, Baylor lost starters Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell and Mark Vital. For most programs, the next year would be a transitional model to figure out who the team should build around going forward. Well, if you watched Baylor from last year, depth was their biggest strength. Scott Drew’s bench was another starting lineup and those players would start on other teams. Now, they are.

LJ Cryer (13.1 ppg), Adam Flagler (12.1 ppg), Matthew Mayer (9.1 ppg) and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (7.9 ppg) all have continued their roles from last year. As all other teams, the Bears made a splash in the transfer portal with James Akinjo. Akinjo is a transfer from Arizona, who has taken over the Bears’ offense and quickly become their leading scorer. Akinjo is averaging 13.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 5.7 assists.

Players Not 100 Percent on Both Sides

On Monday, head coaches Bob Huggins and Drew announced players on their respective teams that will not be 100 percent for the game on Tuesday.

For West Virginia, leading scorer Taz Sherman is not 100 percent, but will play. Sherman has been dealing with the after effects of the COVID-19 virus that put the fifth-year senior in health and safety protocol two weeks ago.

“He [Sherman] didn’t look like he was 100 percent [on Sunday],” Huggins said on Monday. “We tried to get him out as much as we could, but still have him in enough where he knew what was going on.”

Baylor’s Akinjo and Jeremy Sochan are both dealing with day-to-day injuries and their status for the game is unknown.

Wear Gold and Your Mask

If you’re attending the game on Tuesday, West Virginia University wants fans to wear gold for a ‘gold rush.’ The university also heavily suggests fans to wear their masks, as the Omicron variant has spread rapidly in the area in recent weeks.

For halftime entertainment, Red Panda will be performing at the Coliseum.

Betting Lines

The spread for the West Virginia and Baylor game is -6.5 BU. The WVU money line is +230.

The over-under is 138.

West Virginia has a shot in every game that is played in Morgantown, even if it’s against No. 5 Baylor. I could see the Bears outlasting the Mountaineers with late game free-throws, which may bring concern in regards to the spread. If you’re fairly confident in WVU winning the game, take the bet; they have a shot.

How to Watch and Listen

You can watch West Virginia take on Baylor on Tuesday, at 5 p.m., on ESPN2. The Big 12 Conference matchup between the Mountaineers and the Bears will take place inside the WVU Coliseum.

Mountaineer Sports Network will broadcast the game on the radio, with Tony Caridi and Jay Jacobs once again calling WVU games for the entirety of this season.

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. He currently is an intern with the Final Fourcast podcast. Ethan has covered WVU football and men’s basketball for the last year. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio.

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