WVU - KState Preview: Octagon Of Doom

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The West Virginia University men's basketball team, after two tough conference losses, looks to get on their feet in Manhattan against a disciplined Kansas State Wildcats squad on Saturday at 1:30PM EST.

Game Day Vitals

Opponent Information

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Game Preview

The Mountaineers started out at the top of the standings in conference play with back-to-back wins in the Lonestar State, but since have regressed to the mean at 2-2 after a close loss to Oklahoma State and the hangover against Texas. That's exactly what it was. The Mountaineers let the Cowboys loss beat them twice. Hopefully, Eron Harris has found his stroke in the few days off and Terry Henderson can keep the streak of good performances rolling. WVU has three great players in Harris, Henderson, and Staten and, thus far this season, have only had two of them playing well (or healthy) in any given game. If the Mountaineers want to keep themselves in postseason contention, then the next two are much needed wins.

The Wildcats come into this game with a strong win against the Sooners after getting stomped by KU. Before the Jayhawk beatdown, KState had rattled off ten wins in a row including victories against #21 Gonzaga and #6 Oklahoma State. The fascinating thing about Bruce Weber's team is that they score 67.5 points per game (282nd nationally) and shoot only 42.1% from the field (286th nationally.) Yet, because of their crazy stingy defense, the Wildcats are 13-4 and well on their way to their 28th NCAA Tournament appearance and fifth in a row.

KState's main production come from three key players: Marcus Foster, Shane Southwell, and Thomas Gipson. Foster is a freshman PG and is worthy of the Freshman All Big XII list. Averaging 14 points a game, Foster is the driving force behind the Wildcats scoring and will only get better as his career progresses. Shane Southwell and Gipson, both 6-7 guys, average 11 points per game and can set the tone for the Wildcats defensive foothold.

For the Mountaineers, the backcourt tends to be where the game is won and lost. Seeing Juwan Staten face off against Foster will be one of the more interesting matchups this season. If WVU can come out and shoot well, they can force KState to start stretching their defense and, hopefully, make this into a shootout. Even though the Eers are going into a tough environment, the shootout favors us. Sadly, it's hard to see it go that way against such a stingy squad. Bruce Weber has a very dangerous Wildcats team solely because their defense keeps them in games. Don't be surprised if the Mountaineers have to make foul shots down the stretch to fight off the Cats. I see the Eers getting a much needed W on the road.... as long as 3RON makes an appearance

Prediction: WVU 77 KSU 75

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