Connect with us

WVU Basketball

WVU Set to Take on Deep Florida Team on Saturday in Big12/SEC Challenge



Sophomore Tre Mann is leading the Gators in scoring with 14.7 points per game this season. (photo via

Historically, West Virginia has not been great in the Big 12/SEC Challenge since the crossover event began seven seasons ago.

Despite picking up a win against Missouri last season, the Mountaineers have the worst record in the challenge among Big 12 teams at just 2-5. The No. 11 Mountaineers (11-4, 4-3 Big 12) will have a chance to improve on that record Saturday when they host the Florida Gators (9-4, 6-3 SEC) in the WVU Coliseum.

The Gators fought through a tumultuous start to the season and have now won three of their last four games. The team had seven of their first 11 games canceled or postpones due to COVID-19 protocols and lost their best player, Keyontae Johnson, after he collapsed during a game against Florida State on Dec. 12. He is still recovering but has since rejoined the team.

“I think [Florida] is very fortunate they have the depth that they have,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said Friday morning. “They’re bringing guys in off the bench that were top-30, top-50 players coming out of high school.”

WATCH: WVU’s Bob Huggins Previews Saturday’s Home Game Against Florida

Without Johnson, UF’s leading scorer has been sophomore guard Tre Mann, averaging 14.7 points per game. Mann also averages 5.2 rebounds and a team-leading 3.9 assists per game. Five of the seven Florida players that played more than 15 minutes per game are averaging double-digit points.

“I think in the long run it might help them because they’re getting people minutes that maybe ordinarily wouldn’t get minutes,” Huggins said. “They’re talented, they’ve got an extremely talented bench as well as an extremely talented front line.”

UF’s best post player is 6-foot-11 junior Colin Casleton. He leads the team with 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while scoring 12.8 points. Scottie Lewis (10.9), Noah Locke (10.7) and Tyree Appleby (10.5) are the Gators’ other double-digit scorers.

Saturday will be the 10th meeting between the two teams with Florida holding a 6-3 series advantage. Florida won meetings in both 2018 and 2016 but the pair had not met up prior to then since 2003. WVU’s last win over the Gators was in 2002. Florida has never played in the WVU Coliseum.

West Virginia and Florida will tip-off at 2 p.m. Saturday in Morgantown and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Get WVSN in your mailbox!

Enter your email address to subscribe to WVSN and receive notifications of new posts by email.