|Points Per Game||84.8||79.4|
|Field Goal %||43.2||44.4|
|Rebounds Per Game||41.3||38.4|
|Assists Per Game||16.2||17.3|
|Blocks Per Game||5.4||4.1|
|Steals Per Game||10.5||7.3|
Tip-Off: 7pm est
WVU 65 Texas A&M 88
WVU 69 Pitt 60
OSU 55 Texas A&M 72
OSU 73 Pitt 67
The West Virginia Mountaineers (11-1) head to Stillwater, Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2) in the Big XII Conference opener.
The Mountaineers lead the all-time series 6-5 and they are 3-2 inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. West Virginia was on a five-game winning streak against the Cowboys, till they were stunned last year in Morgantown 82-75.
The Cowboys have 2 losses on the season, both coming to ranked opponents, Wichita State and Texas A&M. They are 1-2 against ranked teams, with their only win coming against Florida State in the Orange Bowl Classic, handing the Seminoles their first and only loss of the season.
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton Jr is making his head coaching debut this year in Stillwater. He was an assistant under former Cowboys head coach Brad Underwood for four years.
Last year, Oklahoma State ran a motion offense, but with Boynton at the helm, they are running more set plays, that features high post screens and back door cuts. They will go to a spread/motion look if they cannot get into a rhythm offensively.
Defensively for the Cowboys, they are a hard-nosed man to man defensive team, similar to West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins will run in his half court defense. I don’t expect them to change their defense that much, but if West Virginia starts having success on the offensive end of the floor, I suspect they will pack it in with a 2-3 zone.
Starting guard Jeffrey Carroll (6’6” 220-lbs)) leads the team in scoring (15.0), followed by California State transfer Kendall Smith (6’3” 190-lbs), with 11.1 points per game.
Guards Tavarius Shine (6’6” 200-lbs) and Lindy Waters (6’6” 205-lbs), along with forward Mitchell Solomon (6’9” 250-lbs) round out the starting five.
Solomon leads the team in rebounding (6.7) and blocks (1.2).
Smith keeps the offense going with 4.0 assists per game.
It’s no secret that every game in the Big XII is going to be tough this year, and I expect every game to be close.
The last two games, West Virginia has not shot well from the free throw line, shooting just 63.9%. They must improve their numbers from the charity stripe if they want to win this game.
The Mountaineers must crash the boards. They have the size advantage, but the Cowboys have some size at guard and will go inside to get rebounds. If West Virginia is not making their shots, offensive rebounding will be vital.
West Virginia didn’t play well in their only true road game (Pitt) so far, this year, and that crowd was about half Mountaineer fans. It will be interesting to see how they play in a road conference game, that’s going to be in a tough environment, although Oklahoma State students are still on holiday break.
I’m taking the Mountaineers in this one. It’s going to be close, but Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr have been waiting to get into conference play, and they will make the plays at the end of the game to win the game.