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WVU - #23 Oklahoma Preview: Normantown

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The Mountaineers look to keep themselves in the bubble conversation away from home against a quality opponent in the #23 Oklahoma Sooners at 9PM on ESPNU.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game Day Vitals

  • West Virginia Mountaineers (16-13, 8-8 Big XII) vs. #23 Oklahoma Sooners (21-8, 10-6 Big 12)
  • Series Record: 2-4, last meeting was an OT winner in Morgantown 91-86 OT
  • Location: Lloyd Noble Center (Capacity: 12,000) Norman, Oklahoma
  • Vegas Lines: (-8) for the good guys, O/U -158.0
  • Date: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014, at 9:00 PM EST
  • Television: ESPNU / WatchESPN
  • O/U on references to OU being late last matchup: 1.5
  • Radio Affiliates

Opponent Information

Ou2rpirankings_large

(click to embiggen)

Twitter is Fun: OU Edition

It's Student Appreciation Night, y'all.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Last Home game <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23StudentsNight&amp;src=hash">#StudentsNight</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/OU_MBBall">@OU_MBBall</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23SoonersHoops&amp;src=hash">#SoonersHoops</a> <a href="http://t.co/uQuVKAe9X1">pic.twitter.com/uQuVKAe9X1</a></p>&mdash; Buddy Love !!!! (@buddyhield) <a href="https://twitter.com/buddyhield/statuses/441243717559545858">March 5, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Bonus points to Buddy Hield having the "Buddy Love" Twitter name. I'm skeptical about these free shirts, though...

#TerryWatch:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>My man Tony Caridi says Terry Henderson took part in <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WVU&amp;src=hash">#WVU</a>&#39;s walk-through in Norman, but doubts he&#39;ll play tonight.</p>&mdash; Allan Taylor (@AllanTaylorWVU) <a href="https://twitter.com/AllanTaylorWVU/statuses/441312271642681344">March 5, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Game Preview

While the Mountaineers were able to dodge the postseason nuke that would have been a lost at home to TCU, hopes for the Big Dance are still on life support. Luckily, there are still chances to beef up that RPI ranking of 87 with quality wins. Yes, the conference tournament still looms with plenty of opportunities, but WVU still has plenty to play for when it comes to seeding in Kansas City. Tonight's game against the Oklahoma Sooners works as a multiplier in that way considering the Big XII standings are still very much fluid and the Mountaineers could end up as high as end for 2nd in best-case scenarios. It seems most unlikely for the Mountaineers to go 2-0 to finish out the regular season and make these scenarios possible, the big land mine is to enter the tournament facing off against Texas. If the conference tournament started today, with the Longhorns being #3 and the Eers at #6, that is exactly what would happen.

As for OU, they can completely tie up the Big XII regular season silver medal with wins against WVU and TCU. ESPN's Joe Lunardi has them as a 5 seed in the tournament and could easily go higher as legitimate contenders for the Big XII title. That being said, Lon Kruger's team is not immune to loss of focus proving that with home losses against Louisiana Tech and Texas Tech. Sophomore forward Ryan Spangler is still a beast and leads the league in rebounds. 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.

While the Mountaineers did beat them in Morgantown, there is no question that the Sooners were in a funk with their less-than-routine itinerary to the game.  WVU needs to recreate all they can of that last matchup including someone picking up the 17 points Terry takes with him to the bench. Don't be surprised if Lon Kruger shows zone and forces the good guys to shoot them out of it. There is a chance that WVU can make this strategy backfire for OU, but it all depends if someone on the Mountaineer roster decides to get a hot hand.  Heat checks galore tonight.

Prediction: WVU 71 OU 82