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WVU - #21 Oklahoma Preview: Sooner Than Later

The WVU basketball team are flying high after their first signature win in Morgantown and welcome the #21 Oklahoma Sooners for a faceoff tonight at 7PM on ESPNU.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game Day Vitals

Opponent Information

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Twitter is Fun: OU Not So Sooners Edition

With the recent storm coming through the Northeast, OU had to reroute their initial flight. Ended up going to the best place on Earth.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Bumpy and longer-than-anticipated flight, but safely on the ground...in Newark, N.J. Couldn&#39;t land in West Virginia. Could be a long night.</p>&mdash; Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) <a href="https://twitter.com/OU_MBBall/statuses/430956948385972224">February 5, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/OU_MBBall">@OU_MBBall</a> and radio crew flight to Morgantown diverted to Newark-bumpy ride - now to get to WVU</p>&mdash; SoonerSportsNetwork (@OUontheAir) <a href="https://twitter.com/OUontheAir/statuses/430959304607543296">February 5, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Surprise! You get a trip to New Jersey!

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Team film session, still in New Jersey. <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Sooners&amp;src=hash">#Sooners</a> will fly to WV after this and pre-game meal. Tip at 6 CT on ESPNU. <a href="http://t.co/FmXNHBFjKf">pic.twitter.com/FmXNHBFjKf</a></p>&mdash; Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) <a href="https://twitter.com/OU_MBBall/statuses/431128008293105664">February 5, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Doesn't look too bad to be honest. Either way we are hoping that OU gets here both safely and on time for the 7PM tip.

Game Preview

The Mountaineers have hit the confidence high water mark after beating two very talented teams in the Baylor Bears and the Kansas State Wildcats. Ironically, WVU has been second rate in both rebounding and shooting percentage in both of those wins. The real key for the Eers in the last two victories have been finishing in those last two minutes. This is nothing new considering that has essentially been the story of the whole season, but WVU did the right things in (what Reggie Miller has famously called) "winning time." We all know the phrases.... "winning time"...."clutch time".... "when it counts".... "down the stretch." The Mountaineers have not been able to close, but finally made the smart basketball plays against K-State when it mattered. Key rebounds and foul shots kept KSU at an adequate distance away from some late game antics. This young team, after more than half the season leaving it late, shut the door. Now, they face an even tougher test with the #21 Oklahoma Sooners.

Head Coach Lon Kruger has this team clicking. The Sooners average 83.5 points/game (11th nationally) and can rebound with the best of them. Sophomore forward Ryan Spangler leads the league in rebounds and is only behind KU's Joel Embiid for shooting % in the Big 12. While Spangler is a force to be reckoned with, the OU back court is one of the most talented in the country lead by Buddy Hield and Cameron Clark. Averaging 35 points between the two, Hield and Clark are the driving force of the Sooner offense.

Make no mistake, this would be a hell of a win if the Mountaineers can pull this off. There are several areas where the Sooners can hurt you and picking your poison against them isn't all that fun. Juwan Staten had a huge game against the Wildcats and drew fouls like it was his job. Staten doesn't necessarily need to have another career night to get it done against OU tonight, but he does need to keep that attacking mentality and neutralize the Spangler threat inside by keeping him in foul trouble. With all that being said, I think the Mountaineers might have caught OU in a vulnerable spot with all their traveling woes. I'm saying WVU wins and we are on DEFCON PANTS OPTIONAL/OFF alert in Morgantown.

Prediction: WVU 81 OU 75