The WVU basketball team is in Kansas City already, resting and waiting until its second round match up is revealed.
The Mountaineers await the winner of the Texas Tech-TCU tilt, which is tonight at 9 p.m.
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West Virginia handled both the Red Raiders and the Horned Frogs with relative ease during the regular season. Really, it doesn’t matter who the WVU basketball team goes up against on Thursday.
But it would be in the best interest of the Mountaineers if they can square off against TCU.
The Red Raiders, coming off the heels of their head coach, Tubby Smith, being named the Big 12 Coach of the Year, are also one of the hottest teams in the conference right now. Texas Tech has won six of its last eight games, despite its .500 record within the Big 12.
Texas Tech already owns wins of 76-69 and 83-79 over the Horned Frogs this season.
TCU is an abysmal 2-16 in the Big 12 this season.
But, it’s hard to beat a team three times, or so they say. That could come in play in this tilt as the No. 7 seed takes on the No. 10 seed.
The Horned Frogs are coming off a seven-game losing streak and are looking to end the poor season on the highest not possible. A win over the Red Raiders would likely eliminate them from NCAA Tournament contention, because of their potential 19-12 record.
TCU, however, is the worst shooting team in the conference. The Horned Frogs do have two players scoring in double figures (Chauncey Collins and Malique Trent at 11.8 and 11.5 points per game), but they only shoot 40.7-percent per game.
Conversely, the Mountaineers, who are not known for the offensive outbursts, are shooting an average of 45-percent from the field this season.
Where the WVU basketball team really gains its edge over TCU is on the boards. The Mountaineers were out-rebounded by Baylor in the regular season finale, but have out-rebounded opponents by a 1,234-957 margin this season.
The Horned Frogs’ leading rebounder is Karviar Shepherd at 5.4 rebounds per game. West Virginia has two players averaging much more than that in Devin Williams (9.1) and Jonathan Holton (7.8).
If the Horned Frogs do not pull the upset, the Mountaineers are still in good hands against Texas Tech. WVU beat the Red Raiders twice, by scores of 80-76 and 90-68. The most recent win was the final home game at the WVU Coliseum.
As hot as Texas Tech may be, the Mountaineers are just as steaming. WVU has won four in-a-row after dropping back-to-back contests in the middle of February.
West Virginia can beat either the Horned Frogs or the Red Raiders. Facing TCU, though, will enhance the Mountaineers’ chances of a Big 12 semifinals date against either No. 3 seed Oklahoma or No. 6 seed Iowa State.
That’s when the road to the WVU basketball team’s first Big 12 conference championship gets a little tougher.