The West Virginia University men’s basketball team will finally return from their two-week pause Saturday afternoon when they travel to Manhattan, Kansas to take on Kansas State.
No. 14 WVU (9-4, 2-3 Big 12) last played a game on Jan. 9, a last-second loss to No. 5 Texas. The team has been held out of action since then due to COVID-19 protocols.
Kansas State (5-10, 1-6) on the other hand has been able to play all but one of its scheduled games this season. The turn of the calendar has not been kind to KSU, however, as the Wildcats have not won a game since Dec. 29 and are riding a five-game losing streak.
The Wildcats have struggled on both ends of the court this season. They are last in scoring (63.4 points per game), second to last in shooting (41.7%) and last in 3-point shooting (29.6%). On defense, they are second to last in scoring (71.7 points allowed), last in shooting defense (48.3%) and second to last in 3-point defense (36.8%). They are also second to last in rebounding (32.7 per game).
Despite this, WVU coach Bob Huggins said Thursday that he likes the promise shown by the young Kansas State roster.
“I think they’ve got the best young group in our league,” Huggins said. “Their freshmen are talented. I think they get better and better with each game they play as their youth continues to get experience.”
With five true freshmen and six sophomores, the Wildcats have one of the youngest rosters in the Big 12 this season. The Wildcats are led in scoring by senior Mike McGuirl (11.7 points per game) but sophomore DaJuan Gordon (10.7) and freshman Nijel Park (10.7) are not far behind him.
Along with Pack, KSU coach Bruce Weber also has true freshmen Selton Miguel (8.5 points per game) and Davion Bradford (6.9) playing large roles this season.
“They did a great job with recruiting,” Huggins said. “These guys are good, they’re talented. If they can all stay together, he’s going to have a heck of a team here in a few years.”
Huggins said he is especially impressed by Weber’s freshman class because none of them were highly rated high school recruits. 247Sports had Pack (120), Miguel (166) and Bradford (169) all rated outside of the top-100 prospects nationally.