WVU-Oklahoma Men's Basketball Preview

Keys to the Wednesday night's WVU-Oklahoma Game

  1. Oklahoma sits in third place in the Big 12 Conference with a 6-3 record and is 17-5 overall. OU is 3-2 in conference road play with victories at Texas (88-85), Baylor (66-64), and Texas Tech (74-65). OU road losses are to Kansas State (72-66) and Iowa State (81-75). OU has won four of its last five games.

  2. OU head coach Lon Krueger has used the same starting five all season. The starters include four guards – Buddy Heild, Cam Clark (who is more like a 6-7 small forward), Jordan Woodard, and Isaiah Cousins – along with forward Ryan Spangler.

  3. The Sooners can score from all over the court. They are third in Big 12 conference play at 78 points per game (ppg). Leading the way are Heild (19 ppg), Clark (13 ppg), Spangler (11 ppg), Woodard (10 ppg) and Cousins (10 ppg). As of February 1, OU has made more three point field goals than any other Big 12 team (77 made versus WVU’s 64 made). Oklahoma makes 38% of its three point attempts (compared to WVU’s 37%). OU shoots 42% overall from the field.

  4. The Sooners lead the league in free throw percentage at 78% (compared to WVU’s 73%). OU loves to drive to the basket and has made more free throws (169) than its nearest competitor (WVU, with 163). If WVU plays zone, OU will shoot from outside. If WVU goes man-to-man, OU will drive the basket and get to the free throw line. If I’m Bobby Huggins, I take my chances playing zone.

  5. WVU needs to get OU’s starting five into foul trouble, as 80% of Oklahoma’s points in conference play have come from this group. OU’s reserves include forward Tyler Neal (7 ppg), guard Frank Booker (4 ppg), guard Je’lon Hornbeak (3 ppg) and forward DJ Bennett (2 ppg). Scoring production goes way down with a couple starters on the bench. Unfortunately, only three starters have fouled out in conference play (Heild and Spangler once, and Cousins twice).

  6. OU gives up almost as many points as it scores – at 76 ppg. The Sooners allow their opponents to shoot 46% from the field and 37% from three point land. WVU shoots 43% from the field and 37% from three. West Virginia scores 74 ppg in conference play.

  7. Despite playing three and four guards at a time, OU still grabs 36 rebounds a game (11 offensive boards and 25 defensive rebounds per game). Spangler leads the way with 11 rebounds per game. OU has only given up 89 offensive rebounds to conference opponents, for 10 per game. WVU averages 12 offensive rebounds per game. WVU should have a slight advantage on the offensive glass. However, WVU only grabs 33 rebounds per game (12 offensive and 21 defensive per game, respectively). WVU gives up 10 offensive rebounds per game. The Mountaineers needs to keep Spangler off the glass to win this game.

  8. WVU currently sits in a three way tie for fourth place with Iowa State and Kansas State. WVU has a 5-4 Big 12 Conference record with a 2-2 home record. WVU lost its first two conference home games to Oklahoma State (73-72) and Texas (80-69). WVU has won its last two home games against Texas Tech (87-81) and Kansas State (81-71). The Mountaineers have won three of their last four games.

  9. WVU leads the league in turnover margin at +4 per game. WVU averages 10 turnovers per game in conference play. OU currently averages 11 turnovers per game in Big 12 play. WVU gets 7 steals per game while OU gets 6 per game. The Mountaineers dish out 12 assists per game, while the Sooners dish out 13 per game.

  10. WVU needs to stop the defensive bleeding. Huggins’ team sits last in the Big 12 in field goal percentage allowed (48%), as teams have put on layup clinics and dunk fests in conference play. WVU’s three point field goal percentage allowed also sits at the bottom of the conference at 40%.

  11. WVU needs its backcourt trio of Staten (20 ppg), Harris (15 ppg) and Henderson (14 ppg) to play well. Remi Debo, Gary Browne and Nathan Adrian have played well of late. It would be nice to see Devin Williams (8 ppg, 7rpg) get a double double. Any quality minutes from Kevin Noreen and Brandon Watkins would be an added bonus for the Mountaineers.

  12. These teams are statistically even in assists, rebounds, turnovers, blocked shots and steals. Thus, this game will come down to field goal percentages and free throws made. WVU has a great shot at winning this game if it holds OU to its 42% field goal average and if it keeps the Sooners from shooting less than 20 free throws. The Mountaineers should be able to score. The game should come down to WVU’s ability to stop the Sooners’ high powered offense.

Prediction: WVU 81 OU 77

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