|Points Per Game||75.4||80.6|
|Field Goal %||47.9||42.4|
|Rebounds Per Game||30.5||39.2|
|Assists Per Game||15.0||15.4|
|Blocks Per Game||3.0||5.1|
|Steals Per Game||8.1||8.8|
Tip-Off: 4:00 pm est
Location: Morgantown, WV – WVU Coliseum
The #15 West Virginia Mountaineers (16-6 5-4) take on the Kansas State Wildcats (16-6 5-4) this Saturday inside the WVU Coliseum. The last time these two met, West Virginia was riding a twelve-game winning streak and ranked sixth in the country.
The Mountaineers won the game in Manhattan 77-69, with Teddy Allen leading the way with 22 points.
Kansas State went after West Virginia. They were being physical, testing the Mountaineers toughness and West Virginia responded. They out rebounded the Wildcats (38-27) and was the aggressor.
Since then, West Virginia has gone 3-5 and is on a three-game losing streak and in the process, lost their identity.
Meanwhile, Kansas State has gone 5-3 and have improved. The Wildcats are coming off a loss to their in-state rival Kansas Jayhawks, but going into the game, they were riding a four game winning streak with wins against Oklahoma, TCU, @Baylor and Georgia.
Kansas State has been having success without one of their star players. Kamau Stokes (6’0” 170-lbs) has been sidelined with a broken foot since the Texas Tech game. At the time, they didn’t know when or if he could come back this season.
Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber looks for Stokes to return against the Mountaineers this Saturday but is going to bring him along slowly.
Stokes wasn’t much of a factor the last time these two teams met. He went 0-10 from the field and 0-7 from three-point range but went 6-7 from the free throw line for his six points. His biggest contribution was settling his team down against the high pressure defense the Mountaineers threw at them, contributing six assists.
Junior Guard Barry Brown (6’3” 195-lbs) had 14 points in 35 minutes against the Mountaineers. The West Virginia pressure got to Brown and committed seven turnovers. During conference play, Brown is second in the league in scoring, averaging 21.2 points per game.
Junior forward Dean Wade (6’10” 228-lbs) had a double-double versus WVU, with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He is averaging 20.2 points per game against Big XII opponents.
Sophomore forward Xavier Sneed (6’5” 212-lbs) led the Wildcats in scoring with 20 points in the last game against West Virginia. Eighteen points came from behind the arc, going 6-9.
Freshman guard Cartier Diarra (6’4” 190-lbs) has replaced Stokes during his injury. As a starter, he averages 12.0 points and 4.7 assists per game. Diarra only played 14 minutes and scored six points versus the Mountaineers.
Sophomore forward Makol Mawien (6’9” 225-lbs) played 11 minutes and went 1-2 from the free throw line against WVU. He had 18 points against TCU and 13 versus Baylor.
Coming off the bench:
Junior guard Amaad Wainright (6’2” 200-lbs) did not score against the Mountaineers. He played just 10 minutes and had no rebounds or assists.
Freshman forward Levi Stockard (6’8” 239-lbs) collected six rebounds in 12 minutes and contributed 2 points.
Sophomore guard Brian Patrick (6’5” 195-lbs) played 8 minutes and went 1-2 from behind the arc.
Kansas State’s Brown (21.2) and Wade (20.2) are in the second and third in scoring during conference play. These two have really stepped their game up and have this team fourth in the conference standings.
The Wildcats have taken over the top spot in steals in the league in conference games. They are averaging 8.3 steals per game. Combine that with the best field goal percentage (48.2) and this could be another long evening for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia has been struggling on the defensive end of the floor and right now Kansas States offense has been efficient as of late.
With West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins announcing that the team has been fighting the flu, on top of the way they have been playing, it’s hard to tell which Mountaineer team will show up.
This is a must win situation for West Virginia after the loss to Iowa State Wednesday night.
The team’s toughness has not only been questioned by the fans, but by Huggins as well.
With all the negativity surrounding this team right now, if they could pull out the win, they might be able to put together a nice run in the back half of the conference schedule.