In a testament to just how good the Big 12 is this year in basketball, West Virginia finds itself tied for fourth place in the conference standings yet is considered a top 15 team in basketball.
Bad losses to Kansas and a surprising one to Oklahoma last week dropped the Mountaineers in the standings but they look to bounce back in what should be a very exciting matchup on Saturday as they host #4 Texas.
Texas vs West Virginia Schedule
- Where: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, West Virginia
- When: Saturday, January 9, 1:00pm ET
- How to Watch: ESPN
Texas vs West Virginia Preview
The Longhorns are Rolling, but Not With Blowouts
Other than a four-point loss to Villanova back in early December, the Longhorns have had a lot of success in their first 10 games. At 9-1 they are in first place in the Big 12 after a resounding win against the traditional powerhouse Kansas Jayhawks where they absolutely smoked them 84-59 on Kansas’ own home floor. The win tied the record for Kansas’ worst margin of defeat ever on their own home floor.
This strong display of offense however has not necessarily been the Longhorns bread and butter the entire season however oddly enough. The 84 points they put up last week was just the second time all season they scored over 79 and was only their fifth win out of nine that came by more than six points all year. This is crazy considering they are considered the fourth best team in the country and it either means they truly know how to win games down the stretch or have just been getting lucky to this point.
Either way you cannot deny this team’s success early on thanks to low but consistent scoring. Nobody on Texas averages more than 13 points a game, which you could probably guess based on the point totals, but they have four guys averaging over 10 leading to viable scoring options. These scoring options come from their versatile guards, Mall Coleman III, Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones, but Coleman is what makes this team really go. Leading them in points, assists and steals, his level of play usually has a direct correlation to Texas coming out on top or not.
Mountaineers Shaky Down the Stretch
After an early December loss to the best team on in the country, not much was to panic about West Virginia as they capped off four straight wins until they lost to #3 Kansas. However now after splitting their last four games 2-2 and only beating Oklahoma State on the road by three points there is cause for concern heading into a matchup against a fundamentally sound Texas team.
The key for West Virginia will be playing a complete game on Saturday. In their first half against Oklahoma they went down 38-20 at half time and their second half against Kansas they were outscored 29-44 and also went down 45-35 to Oklahoma State in the first half. These types of games have forced them to either make up leads leading to a close win or loss in the second half or they have just fallen apart in the second half all together. And if one thing has shown us, it’s that Texas can close out games, so consistency from both halves will be the only way West Virginia comes out on top.
Texas vs West Virginia Pick & Prediction
This game will come down to the last possession. Texas surrenders six less points per game than West Virginia but both team’s other stats are nearly identical.
No line has been released for this game yet, but if Texas is favored I would suggest taking the points given to West Virginia considering these teams love to play anyone on their schedule close so why expect anything less when they play each other.
With that being said, I’m going with Texas to score a basket and make a stop late because West Virginia has not shown an inability to come all the way back from deficits and Texas has the more consistent scoring.
Texas 81 — West Virginia 77