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Five Things to Know Before WVU vs. Kent State

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As West Virginia looks to carry over the momentum from its win over No. 15 UConn, on Wednesday, let’s take a look at five things to know before today’s game against Kent State.

David vs. Goliath on the Free-Throw Shooting

Yes, as predicted, West Virginia is David and Kent State is Goliath.

The Golden Flashes come in as the best free-throw shooting team in the country. Rob Senderoff’s crew is shooting 101-of-121 (83.5 percent) from the charity strike. West Virginia, on the other hand, is No. 351 in the country, shooting 61.2 percent. The Mountaineers almost missed as many free-throws against UConn (15), as Kent State has missed all season (20).

WVU must be cautious on the fouls, but no one can guarantee that with aggressive players like Gabe Osabuohien, Kedrian Johnson, and Malik Curry.

Meet the Opponent

Kent State will come into Morgantown, W.Va. with a 5-3 record. The Golden Flashes have notably defeated James Madison (74-69) and George Washington (77-69). Kent State averages 72.4 points and allows 59.0 points.

The Golden Flashes are led by senior guard Sincere Carry, who is averaging a team-high 14.8 points. Carry also averages 5.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists. It’s clear, just by looking at the stats, that Carry runs the offense and will have the ball a lot in his hands.

“They’re good, they’ve got five seniors. Sincere [Carry] has really made a huge difference with their team,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said on Friday. “He’s a guy that can score from anywhere, somebody that you’ve got to pay attention to. He’s going to make shots.”

Can Young Guys Play Well if Given the Chance?

Against Radford, on Dec. 4, Huggins and his staff let all 15 players play, despite thinking that freshmen Jamel King and James Okonkwo would redshirt. King and Okonkwo still will probably redshirt, but it is worth noting that the entire roster got time.

Huggins was not thrilled about the play his young guys had in the final few minutes of the game against the Highlanders. Seth Wilson, Taj Thweatt, Seny N’Diaye, Okonkwo, and King all played late in the game, during which time Radford was able to cut the lead down from 27 to 16 in just 10 minutes.

Huggins blamed himself and staff for not having guys, such as N’Diaye, ready for the big stage. N’Diaye has been improving very well in practice, according to players and coaches.

“We’ve got to get him better and you know, that’s on us,” Huggins said. “He’s willing [to get better]. We just got to get them better.”

Betting Lines

West Virginia is favored by -12 points against Kent State.

The WVU money line is set at -700.

You may think the spread is a little bit too kind to Kent State but the Golden Flashes have a great chance to cover the spread on Sunday. West Virginia has struggled against the mid-majors this year, failing to complete a full 40 minutes of great play. Kent State comes in as the best free-throw shooting team in the country, while WVU is No. 351. I would stay away from betting on this game.

How to Watch and Listen

You can watch West Virginia take on Kent State on Sunday, at 4 p.m., on ESPN2. The non-conference matchup between the Mountaineers and the Golden Flashes 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.

(Top Photo: Julia Mellett / WVSN)

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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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