|Points Per Game||80.5||71.4|
|Field Goal %||43.6||43.6|
|Rebounds Per Game||38.3||36.0|
|Assists Per Game||15.3||11.5|
|Blocks Per Game||5.3||5.2|
|Steals Per Game||8.1||6.1|
Tip-Off: Noon Est
Location: Austin, Texas. Frank Erwin Center
The 20th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers travel to Austin, Texas to battle the Texas Longhorns in the regular season finale. The Mountaineers have won four straight against the Longhorns, but they are only 2-3 in Austin.
Texas is 2-2 in their last four games with wins over Oklahoma in Norman and Oklahoma State. Their losses came on the road to Kansas State and Kansas.
Longhorns freshman forward and Future 2018 NBA Lottery pick Mohamad Bamba has been limited with a toe injury on his left foot he suffered on February 17th against Oklahoma. He played 31 minutes against Kansas State just three days later, but only played 15 minutes against Oklahoma State and did not play in Lawrence, Kansas on Monday night.
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins expects Bamba to play, and rightfully so. ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has Texas as one of the last four teams making the NCAA Tournament, but with a win over the Mountaineers might solidify them a spot in the tourney.
Texas will be without junior guard Eric Davis Jr for the third straight game. He was named in the Yahoo Sports article in the FBI investigation into the NCAA.
In the first meeting between these two programs, Texas was ran out of Morgantown, West Virginia 86-51. The Mountaineers shot 45.6% (31-68) from the field, 52.2% (12-23) from three-point range, 12-12 from the free throw line and outrebounded the Longhorns 45-29.
The West Virginia defense forced 15 turnovers and packed the paint and dared Texas to shoot from the outside. Texas could not get into any rhythm on offense and not one Longhorn scored in double figures, holding them to 34% shooting from the field.
Four Mountaineers scored in double figures. Senior guard Jevon Carter led all scorers with 22 points, 8 assists and grabbed four rebounds. Sophomore guard Beetle Bolden came off the bench and went 5-6 from behind the arc for 19 points. Senior guard Daxter Miles Jr shot 50% from the field for 15 points and Sophomore forward Sagaba Konate had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
This win came during the stretch where West Virginia lost five of their six games.
Texas Starters and their production in the first meeting:
Junior Dylan forward Osetkowski (6’9” 245-lbs) had eight points and two rebounds. He struggled handling the ball with five turnovers. During Big XII play, he is averaging 12.9 points and 6.7 rebounds.
Freshman forward Mohamed Bamba (6’11” 225-lbs) had nine points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. He is averaging a double-double during Big XII play with 13.7 points and 10.9 rebounds.
Freshman guard Matt Coleman (6’2” 180-lbs) went 2-7 from the field for four points. He has averaged 11.6 points in the last five games and was in double figures in four of them. Coleman leads the team in assists, averaging 4.2 per game.
Freshman forward Jericho Sims (6’9” 240-lbs) had seven points in 30 minutes. He is averaging 4.7 points per game on the year but has scored an average of 11.5 points in the last two games.
Freshman guard Jason Febres (6’5” 190-lbs) went 1-3 from three-point range for three points in nine minutes. Has not been much of a threat offensively, averaging 3.5 points per game on the season.
Coming off the bench:
Junior guard Kerwin Roach (6’4” 180-lbs) will start if Bamba does not play. He had nine points, six of them coming from the free throw line (6-8). Coming off an 18-point game against Kansas on Monday night
Sophomore guard Jacob Young (6’2” 185-lbs) went 3-9 from the field for nine points. He is averaging 5.1 points per game on the year but 13 in the last two games.
Texas is last in the Big XII in scoring (70.1), field goal percentage (42.3%) and ninth in three-point percentage (32.7%) during conference play. The Mountaineers need to replicate what they did in the first game and force the Longhorns to shoot from the outside.
It will take another team effort on the boards to outrebound the Longhorns. Logan Routt came off the bench and grabbed five rebounds in the first meeting. What does,t show in the box score is him clearing out the paint for teammates to get rebounds.
Round two of Sags and Mamba should disappoint. Sags did get the better of him in the first meeting with 10 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks, while Bamba had 9 points 13 rebounds and four blocks.
I fully expect West Virginia to continue to play well like they have on the back half of the conference schedule and close the regular season out with the win. I don’t expect another blowout, because desperate teams, like Texas, are very dangerous this time of year.
With a win, the Mountaineers will clinch the two seed in the Big XII tournament next week and will play Thursday night at 7:00 pm Est.