MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The time has arrived. West Virginia’s men’s basketball team will look to showcase their new roster, starting against Oakland on Tuesday night, inside the WVU Coliseum.
Since the round of 32 game against Syracuse back in March, the Mountaineers have flipped half of their roster, losing four rotation players and adding seven. Click here to read a full preview of the season and what to expect.
Last season, the Oakland Golden Grizzlies went 12-18, finishing fifth in the Horizon League. No, Oakland is not from California, they will be traveling from Michigan to West Virginia. Long-time head coach Greg Kampe has been at Oakland since 1984, winning 644 games and appearing in the tournament three times. Kampe helped Oakland become a Division I program, starting in 1999.
Kampe’s offense is isolation-heavy, with guard Jalen Moore leading the way. The senior averaged 17.9 points and 8.4 assists in the 2020-21 season. As a team, the Golden Grizzlies averaged 74.7 points per game.
With the questionable defense and rebounding from WVU this season, Oakland could have a field day on the offensive end if the shots fall.
“They run unconventional things that are really different looks. I don’t know if they’ll run this against us but they like to iso a lot. Really who ever they think has an advantage, I don’t think it’s one particular guy.”
Like West Virginia, Oakland dealt with key departures over the off-season. Rashad Williams transferred to Saint Louis, Daniel Oladapo transferred to Pitt. Williams averaged 13. 6 points, while Oladapo averaged 12.9 and 8.8 rebounds.
During the exhibition game against Akron, the Mountaineers were able to at least have a blue print of what the team will look like this season. The offense is good, the defense showed glimpses of potential despite Bob Huggins putting it down and the rebounding will be a problem.
“We’ve got a lot more to work on than that,” Huggins said on Monday about the rebounding.
Against Akron, it was a well-balanced effort on the boards for the Mountaineers. Transfer forward Dimon Carrigan led away with six rebounds. Carrigan averaged 6.1 rebounds at Florida International last season. Jalen Bridges had five rebounds against the Zips, while Taz Sherman, Isaiah Cottrell and Gabe Osabuohien each had four.
This is going to be a learning experience with Derek Culver gone.
On the offensive end, Sherman will led the WVU offense, alongside Sean McNeil. It was clear that Sherman would take over play calling duties following the departure of Deuce McBride. In the Akron game, Sherman finished with 29 points, on 10-of-14 shooting from the field. If Sherman and McNeil can stay consistent throughout the season, WVU’s offense will be tough to beat.
West Virginia and Oakland are set to tip-off in Morgantown on Tuesday night, at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
(Top Photo: Kelsie LeRose)