clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

WVU vs Baylor Basketball Preview & How To Watch: Showdown in Waco

New, 5 comments

The WVU Mountaineer basketball team looks to keep in contention for the Big 12 title on the road with a tough matchup against the #19 Baylor Bears at 4:00PM on ESPNU.

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Game Day Vitals

Opponent Information

wvubaylorrpi2

The Interwebs

Yep. Gonna use these gifs until either I die, I am replaced from preview writing, or the internet finally implodes over arguments over dress colors.

Game Preview

West Virginia's last matchup against Baylor could not have gone worse. Baylor jumped out to a 30-8 lead with seven minutes left in the half as the Mountaineers were shooting 21% from the field. Going into half time down 16 almost felt like a victory. While WVU competed well in the second half, the deficit was too much to overcome. The Bears shot 54% that afternoon and let the cat out of the bag that West Virginia had a zone problem.

A lot has happened since that midday matchup in early February. The Mountaineers have went 4-1 including a massive win at home against Kansas. At that point, West Virginia got its confidence back. Since the win over the Jayhawks, the Mountaineers have shot 43.6% from beyond the arc and Juwan Staten is back looking like an All-American. With this recent win streak, West Virginia is right back in the Big 12 title race sitting one game back from pole position. While the calendar flips to March and spring returns to Morgantown, so too does the spring back into the old gold and blue step.

That's all well and good, but that doesn't take away the fact that the Mountaineers have to travel to Waco and play a very good Baylor team who is coming off of a massive win in Ames against the #14 Iowa State Cyclones. The same win that equalizes West Virginia with Iowa State in the standings proves to be a double-edged sword giving confidence to the upcoming WVU opponents. Taurean Prince, Rico Gathers, and Royce O'Neale -- all players who scored double digits in Morgantown -- have not stopped piling on the production in the past month. Prince is the most dangerous of the group seeing that he hasn't missed out on a double digit performance since January. The Mountaineers have done a good job locking down the danger guys the recently and this one is a must. Taurean Prince cannot be allowed to go off if WVU wants to win this game.

The West Virginia game plan will be the same as the Texas one: attack the zone with Devin Williams and hope to god that the outside shooting shows up. Ball movement for the Mountaineers has been excellent the past few games and that will be a major key in breaking down the Baylor 2-3 zone. Taking care of the ball and forcing Baylor into a healthy amount of turnovers is, as always this year, a must. If the Mountaineers can shoot well and stretch the zone for Devin Williams to get inside and get paint buckets, this may go well. If the shooting woes continue, this one could go either way.

Prediction: WVU 74, Baylor 76