WVU basketball: Texas Tech will be tougher this time in Big 12

MORGANTOWN, WV - FEBRUARY 26: Josh Webster /

By beating the WVU basketball team on Jan. 13, Texas Tech proved it was for real in the Big 12 Conference.

The Mountaineers got back on the Red Raiders a few weeks later, but now the real rematch begins in the conference tournament. The WVU basketball team faces Texas Tech Friday at 9 p.m.

Texas Tech has recently defeated Texas, which beat West Virginia in the final regular season game of the year. The Longhorns will wait their NCAA Tournament fate but definitely improved their odds with the overtime win against West Virginia. Texas Tech was catching Texas at the right time then.

The worn out Longhorns couldn’t keep up with the Red Raiders in the tournament quarterfinals, despite beating Iowa State in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. That game went down to the wire, though, which could have slowed Texas even more.

The Mountaineers and Red Raiders appear to be at even strength right now. When Texas Tech beat the WVU basketball team, it shot 58 percent from the field in the second half. That surge allowed the Red Raiders to pull out the one-point victory.

West Virginia shot terribly from the field in that first match up, but improved mightily when playing Texas Tech at the WVU Coliseum. In a 10-point victory at home, the Mountaineers put up a 49 percent shooting percentage and held the Red Raiders to under 40 in the first half.

What is concerning about the WVU basketball offense following the win against Baylor is the sloppy handling of the ball. The Mountaineers had 16 turnovers. Also, Sagaba Konate was limited inside. He can take over a game on his own and when he isn’t a factor, the WVU basketball team will start to slip. On the other hand against Baylor, Esa Ahmad really emerged as a threat on offense and defense. If this keeps up, he will be leading the Mountaineers to great things this postseason.

Next: All-time WVU basketball team

The Mountaineers have a lot to be excited about, but there are still some concerning areas that could hold them back from their full potential. In the end, West Virginia and Texas Tech are very evenly matched and this should be a classic contest.