Game Day Vitals
- #20 West Virginia Mountaineers (21-6, Big XII 9-5, NCAA RPI 23) vs. Texas Longhorns (17-10, Big XII 6-8, NCAA RPI 41)
- Series Record: 3-6, last matchup was a beatdown in Austin L 77-50
- Location: Lyons Den (Capacity: 14,000) Morgantown, West Virginia
- Vegas Lines: (-4) for the good guys, O/U: 136.5
- Date: Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015, 7:00 PM EST
- Television: ESPN2 / WatchESPN
- Radio Affiliates
- Texas Longhorns (17-10, Big XII 6-8, NCAA RPI 41)
- Head Coach - Rick Barnes, 17th year as UT head coach, 596–302 (.664)
- Last Result - Loss in Austin to #14 Iowa State L 85-77
- Official Texas athletics website
- SBN Texas site - Burnt Orange Nation and Barking Carnival
I could easily go with Matty Mcconaughey not getting a damn thing for Interstellar, but let's keep this specifically interwebby. With Texas being Texas, the internet tends to embrace when they are not doing so well. Crowd gifs of past games are a pretty big go-to now that Mack Brown is gone. I still haven't decided on the best one quite yet.
Number one: OMG girl.
Numero Dos: F-bomb girl.
Both are strong contenders in their own right. First thing to mention is that both feature scoreboard graphics that depict things not going well for the Longhorns. While OMG has a loss solidified for Texas, getting railroaded in the Red River Shootout is the lowest of low. (Note: It's the Shootout, dammit. The same way the Wizards are the Bullets.)
Secondly, they both roll very heavy with accessories. These two contenders go hard with wristbands, watches, scrunchies, etc. F-bomb went with the aviator shades to rival OMG's temporary face decal. I think we're still even here.
Winner: F-Bomb girl.
This is an interesting crossroads for both teams right now. West Virginia is on a two game winning streak after defeating top-RPI ranked Kansas at home and then traveling to Stillwater and collecting a victory against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Over those two games, the Mountaineers have had 26 more field goal attempts and 22 more rebounds than their opponents along with Juwan Staten averaging 21 points while shooting 51%. Furthermore, WVU has silenced the idea that they might actually miss out on March with two quality wins, but Lunardi has them at a 7-seed to play Texas A&M and climbing still. That's not even including the fact that West Virginia is one game back from Kansas and Iowa State with four games to go in the regular season. It was the best of times.
However, Texas is not doing so well. The Longhorns successfully snatched defeated from the jaws of victory in Norman where they gave up a 13-5 run to choke away a rivalry win against the Sooners. Four days later, Kendal Yancy dropped six three-pointers to put up 29 points and Texas still lost in Austin by eight to the Cyclones. Lunardi has dropped them to an 8-seed against Ole Miss and then a matchup against #1 Virginia. It wasn't quite the worst of times, but not ideal.
A lot of that outside noise is just that, noise, however some of it really is pertinent. The Mountaineers have a bounce in their step after a few wins and are shooting pretty decent. Confidence and trust in the system come naturally after healthy results and this press system only works if you invest in it. Then again, even if the system isn't a good one, it is hard to lose when Juwan is playing the way he is right now.
The Longhorns may lack some confidence after those two losses, but this game is about the matchups. Kendal Yancy cannot be allowed to shoot the lights out, so Gary Browne will most likely be asked to lock him down. If Browne is able to hold the Texas playmaker to two points from the field like he did against Phil Forte III, then West Virginia has a real chance to gather another victory and keep the pressure on Kansas and Iowa State. All of this, of course, is hinging on whether #PressVirginia will be effective against the Longhorns. The game in Austin was a nightmare. The Mountaineers must shoot than the 24% performance a month ago. Same story as always. If West Virginia does not make shots, if they do not take advantage of the extra possessions, then this will get ugly. I'm an optimist, so let's get weird.
Prediction: WVU 74, Texas 68