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WVU - Kansas Preview: Big Monday

The West Virginia University men's basketball team host the top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks on ESPN's Big Monday broadcast at 9PM in the Oliver Garden.

Alonzo J. Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Game Day Vitals

Opponent Information

Clapping with Kansas

This is easily in my Top Five favorite videos on the internet.

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And... I almost forgot....

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One more, just for fun...


Game Preview

The Kansas Jayhawks come into Morgantown ranked #1 in the country for a reason: they're pretty damn good. Along with being #1 on the country, their RPI is #2 and SOS #5. All of their starters are future NBA players including the freshman sensation Ben McLemore. Outside of McLemore, the other four starters are seasoned seniors that got minutes in the National Championship game last year against Kentucky. I could go on and on about the talent of the Rock Chalk squad, but you have probably already heard it all. This team looks to be a title contender. West Virginia, however, is not.

The Mountaineers are currently one game under .500 and struggling to remain a distant bubble team. The idea of them being a bubble team means, as discussed in this week's podcast, that they would probably have to go on some freak 8-3 run that may or may not include a win at home against Kansas on the Big Monday stage. This WVU team has had some awful moments and a few of them coming recently, but there are sparks of something good. There have been glimpses of a good team. Five minutes here, ten minutes there. The Kansas State game was probably the best all around game we have played to date. Saturday, WVU played like a legitimate team for the first 15 minutes and shut it down before going into the half. There have been glimpses and if the Mountaineers have any shot at against Bill Self's Jayhawks, there is one phrase that can truly beat the Kansas University Jayhawks:

Big East basketball.

We all know that this team isn't built for a track meet. Hell, this team is barely built for basketball, but there is a version of basketball that thrives in Morgantown and it involves putting a body on a body, putting hands in faces, and pure hustle. The Mountaineers are going to have to out-heart Kansas and listen to their coach to win tonight to have even a chance. The Jayhawks, even during their close games, still shoot 50%. When the ball does hit the rim, WVU must have a man going to get it to absolutely deny Kansas of any type of second chance points. This will be the way to weather the storm while the Mountaineer offense stalls inevitably.

This could get ugly tonight. I hope to God that this West Virginia team is tired of hearing about how much they suck. I hope that they are sick of hearing how badly they shoot, how often they turn over the ball, and how they don't listen to Huggs. I hope they are sick of running the treadmill. If they are sick of all of that and come out with a real fire in their belly and can maintain that for a full 40 minutes. There will be at least a performance that this fan base can get behind, win or lose. If we get run out of the building, I fear this young team will give up on the season.

Buckle your seat belts.