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By The Numbers: Ten Keys To The WVU-Oklahoma Rematch

Here's how WVU can take the "boomer" out of the Sooners. This preview uses stats from Big 12 conference play to highlight keys to tonight’s rematch in Norman.

Staten and company look to take the "boomer" out of the Sooners tonight.
Staten and company look to take the "boomer" out of the Sooners tonight.
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport

1. The Sooners score from all over the court.  They have remained third in Big 12 conference play at 78 points per game (ppg). Leading the way are Hield (17 ppg), Clark (12 ppg), Cousins (11 ppg) Spangler (9 ppg), and Woodard (9 ppg). OU has made more three point field goals per game than any other Big 12 team at almost nine per game (compared to WVU's eight per game). Oklahoma makes 38% of its three point attempts (WVU 37%).  OU shoots 43% overall from the field (WVU 42%).

2. Don't put OU at the free throw line. The Sooners lead the league in free throw percentage at 77% (WVU 75%), but recently haven't gotten to the line as often as earlier in the season. OU has dropped to fourth in free throws made at 283 (WVU is third at 301). 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 Bob Huggins, I take my chances playing zone.  Expect to see Adrian up top again.

3. WVU needs to get OU's starting five into foul trouble, as 76% of Oklahoma's points in conference play have come from this group. OU's reserves include forward Tyler Neal (7 ppg), guard Frank Booker (5 ppg), guard Je'lon Hornbeak (5 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). The game in Morgantown was a foul fest. WVU was able to get Spangler, Cousins and Hornbeak into foul trouble.

4. OU gives up almost as many points as it scores - at 76 ppg. The Sooners allow their opponents to shoot 45% from the field and 37% from three point land. WVU shoots 42% from the field and 37% from three. West Virginia scores almost 77 ppg in conference play. As Coach Huggins says, WVU must make perimeter shots to win.

5. 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 almost 10 rebounds per game. The Mountaineers need to keep Spangler off the glass.

6. Oklahoma is not a turnover prone team, but did commit 13 turnovers in Morgantown. The Sooners are third in turnover margin at +1 (WVU leads the league at +3 per game). WVU scored 12 points off turnovers in Morgantown. WVU must do the same or better in this category.

7. WVU needs to stop the defensive bleeding. Huggins' team sits last in the Big 12 in field goal percentage allowed (48%) and points allowed (78 ppg).  Teams have put on layup clinics and dunk fests in conference play. The Sooners like to get out in transition, so WVU must stop the ball and get back on defense.

8. With Henderson most likely out, WVU needs Remi Dibo, Gary Browne and Nathan Adrian to play well. It would be nice to see Devin Williams (7 ppg, 6 rpg) get another double double after his 10 and 10 against TCU. Any quality minutes from Kevin Noreen and Brandon Watkins would be an added bonus for the Mountaineers.

9. 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 below its 43% field goal average and if it keeps the Sooners from shooting less than 20 free throws. The Mountaineers should be able to score, so the game comes down to WVU's ability to stop the Sooners' high powered offense.

10. WVU must play with more focus and intensity than they have shown in their last few games. Even against TCU, the Mountaineers got caught sleepwalking until 11 minutes left to play. WVU will find itself down by double digits early against the Sooners unless the Mountaineers come to play.  West Virginia needs this game. They'll need to play like it to win.