West Virginia basketball is coming off of a huge win with only three games remaining.
The West Virginia basketball team is riding high after a regular season sweep of the Iowa State Cyclones. The Mountaineers were able to jump into second place in the Big 12 Conference and more than likely earn a first round bye in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament. The Mountaineers can’t let off the gas as we break down the three final games.
On Saturday WVU will travel to Stillwater Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys who have been pretty competitive at home. The Mountaineers won the first contest earlier this season by a decisive 17 points. Oklahoma State is a different team at home and the Mountaineers will have to be on top of their game to avoid an upset loss like the Kansas Jayhawks did in Stillwater. The press worked fairly well against Oklahoma State in the first meeting as the Mountaineers were able to force 15 turnovers and must be able to do it again. Fortunately, Oklahoma State doesn’t have a lot a talent in their starters let alone their bench. West Virginia should leave Stillwater with an easy victory on the backs of Jonathon Holton and Devin Williams.
The Mountaineers will return home on March 2nd to host Texas Tech who is arguably the hottest team in the Big 12 right now. West Virginia escaped with a victory in Lubbock earlier this year thanks to Tarik Phillips. The Red Raiders were up 76-72 with 1:10 left when Phillips took the game into his own hands scoring the final eight points of the game leading WVU to an 80-76 victory. West Virginia found themselves in foul trouble in Lubbock and must correct that in Morgantown to keep the Red Raiders away. The Red Raiders made 32 of 34 free throw which lent a big hand to keeping Texas Tech in the game. It’s safe to say they won’t be able to do that again and the Mountaineers will sweep the season series.
Last but not least, the Mountaineers will travel to Waco to face a pesky Baylor Bears. Although the Mountaineers got the win at home early this season, Baylor has been known to give WVU fits. Holton was suspended the first time around and many were concerned on how WVU would handle big man Rico Gathers. Williams, Nathan Adrian, and Esa Ahmed all worked together to help neutralize Gathers who scored a minimal five points on 1-of-9 shooting. Playing on the road in the Big 12 is tough and shutting down Gathers twice is even harder. The Mountaineers will have their hands full in what should be an extremely close contest. If WVU can shutdown Gathers again, WVU will end the season with a victory and all the momentum heading into the Big 12 Tournament.