The Mountaineers should have some thrilling home games this season at the WVU Coliseum. Tonight’s match up with NJIT probably won’t be one of them.
The entire Big 12 schedule is still ahead, along with an out-of-conference tilt with Virginia next week and the Big 12/SEC Challenge with Kentucky come January. But this NJIT game will give fans a chance to welcome home the Mountaineers following their thrilling win against Missouri in the Adovcare Invitational championship game.
NJIT is 4-2 and coming off a win against LIU Brooklyn. The Mountaineers, however, should have no problem dispatching the Highlanders at home. West Virginia has proven to be inconsistent at times but if senior leaders Daxter Miles and Jevon Carter can find their scoring stroke like that did in the second half against Missouri, the Mountaineers are golden for the rest of the season.
One of the culprits for this inconsistent play, though, is Sagaba Konate. He was almost invisible against Missouri scoring two points and grabbing one rebound in 16 minutes of play. According to WV Illustrated, Konate will be paired up with NJIT’s 6-foot-10 junior forward Abdul Lewis, who is averaging a double-double per game. Konate needs to be able to shut him down or else he may not be able to make it through the conference slate of games.
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The Mountaineers must also improve by getting rebounds, especially when Konate is struggling and getting in foul trouble. Missouri grabbed more rebounds than the Mountaineers, which is something that should never happen with a Bob Huggins-coached team. The WVU defense did play outstanding to get that hard-earned victory, so NJIT might be blown away by the pressure the Mountaineers apply tonight.
One comparable game between the Mountaineers and NJIT could be the Seton Hall match up with the Highlanders on Nov. 18. The former Big East program is now ranked No. 22. The Pirates easily dispatched their fellow New Jersey school, 82-53. The Mountaineers should be able to do the same.
Following NJIT, the road gets tougher for the Mountaineers with two games against Power 5 opponents. The Mountaineers face Virginia on Tuesday and Pitt on Saturday.