Mountaineer Madness: Previewing OU's Matchup With No. 11 WVU

Friday, January 15th 2016, 6:08 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

Oklahoma’s inferno of a schedule continues on Saturday as the No. 2 Sooners hosts No. 11 West Virginia at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. It’ll be the first game in three days for OU as they have to hit the road and take on a very stout Iowa State team in Ames.

Here are a few things to know about OU’s huge Saturday 3 p.m. matchup:

Mountaineers the real deal

If you haven’t heard yet, Bob Huggins’ team from West Virginia is one of the best in the nation, and people are finally beginning to realize that after the Mountaineers (15-1) took down No. 1 Kansas on Wednesday night.

That upset may come as a surprise to some people, but when looking at the numbers, the Mountaineers were plenty capable of knocking off the Hawks. WVU’s only loss of the season came in New York against then No. 10 Virginia, where the Mountaineers blew a six-point halftime lead.

Huggins’ teams is also elite on the defensive end of the floor, and is in the top 25 in the nation in rebounds per game (41.3) and grab 45 percent of their own missed shots on offense.

Look out for “Press Virginia”

The Mountaineers will hound you on the defensive end of the court, just ask KU coach Bill Self. WVU has taken on the nickname “Press Virginia” due to the full-court press the Mountaineers have been relentlessly displaying, and the Sooners (14-1) will need to be well-prepared to face it.

WVU leads the nation in steals per game (11.38), defensive turnover percentage, and free throws allowed per 100 field goal attempts. They’re the real deal, and they’ll frustrate the opponent into making poor decisions and flipping it to a fast break on their end.

Sooners could claim No. 1 spot in rankings

With the Jayhawks loss to WVU on Wednesday, the title of “best in the nation” is up for grabs in College Basketball and it looks like the Sooners can control their own destiny in securing it.

If the Sooners can take down a highly-ranked West Virginia team on Saturday there’s not much debate to whether OU will sit atop the polls when they’re released on Monday afternoon. A win over the Mountaineers along with OU’s narrow win in Bedlam will prove to be strong enough additions to the resume to justify moving up.