|Points Per Game||70.5||89.6|
|Field Goal %||49.2||44.4|
|Rebounds Per Game||33.3||41.5|
|Assists Per Game||14.1||17.1|
|Blocks Per Game||3.8||6.1|
|Steals Per Game||7.3||11.4|
Location: The Coliseum, Morgantown West Virginia
Tip-Off: 7:00 pm
The #18 West Virginia Mountaineers (7-1) and the #15 Virginia Cavaliers (8-0) will meet for the 15th time in their series history. The first meeting between the two schools, dates to February first, 1950 and the Mountaineers won the game, 65-46.
The Mountaineers won the last meeting in Charlottesville last year, 66-57. It was a host of Mountaineers that contributed in the win, but Jevon Carter (11) and Nathan Adrian (10) led the team in scoring, combining for 21 points.
If you like a lot of offense, this will not be the game for you. It’s a matchup of two different style of defenses, and both have been staples of success for both programs.
Virginia runs the “pack the line” defense. It is a variation of the man to man defense. Off the ball defenders stay within a 16-foot imaginary line from the rim, instead of pressuring their player and denying the pass, except the on the ball defender. For the Cavaliers, this defense has them ranked #1 in scoring defense in the country (50.6).
West Virginia has the “Press Virginia” defense. The full court press that pressures the ball the whole length of the floor, speeding the offense up and causing turnovers, putting them 3rd in the country in turnovers (22.3) and first in the country in turnover margin (+10).
The Cavaliers have two great starting guards in Kyle Guy (6’2” 175-lbs) and Devon Hall (6’5” 211-lbs). Guy (16.6) and Hall (11.8) lead the team in scoring. They take care of the ball, both averaging a 2/1, assists to turnover ratio. With their height and length, it will be easier for them to see over the press and get the ball to the open man down the court. Guy can hit the three ball, hitting 45.5% (20-44).
Rounding out the starting five will be, center Jack Salt (6’10” 250-lbs), forward Isaiah Wilkins (6’7” 227-lbs) and guard Ty Jerome (6-5 200-lbs).
Wilkins is a versatile player, that can attack the rim, hit mid-range jump shots, and leads the team in rebounding (6.8).
Virginia is not a deep team, but guard Nigel Johnson and forward Mamadi Diakite will provide valuable minutes off the bench, along with guard De’Andre Hunter.
The Cavaliers have a slight size advantage, and it will be key for the Mountaineers to attack the boards, especially on the offensive end, if the shots are not falling, second chance points would be a factor in winning the game.
If the Mountaineers cannot get into rhythm on the offensive end, they must attack the rim and finish, absorbing contact. Virginia does an excellent job affecting shots and not fouling.
This is West Virginia’s biggest test since the opening game of the season against Texas A&M, and they are looking to show the country they have improved.
I think West Virginia wins the game by rebounding, good defense and hitting the free throws at the end of the game to seal the win.
The Mountaineers win 67-62.
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