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West Virginia Mountaineers Vs. Northern Kentucky Norse Preview: Season 108 Episode 12 - ‘Twas the Game Before Christmas

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“Now, Nathan! now, Esa! now, Tarik and Jevon! On, Lamont! on, Daxter! on, Macon and Teyvon!”

NCAA Basketball: Radford at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

OPENING THOUGHTS

‘Twas the game before Christmas and all through the campus

In the town that brings troubles to a team that’s named Kansas;

Fans and students supported their team with care,

In hopes that championships soon would be there

Inside the arena, fans got in their seats

While reminiscing about Virginia getting beat.

With my bro in his hoodie, and I in my cap,

We sat there hoping the game’s not a trap

When across the room there arose such a clatter

We looked to the court to see what was the matter

Lights all over the ceiling began to rotate and flash

As some cheerleaders rolled out a blue and gold sash

The building got loud as the announcer cheered,

"Let’s roll out the carpet and bring on the Mountaineers!"


In all seriousness, hopefully this won’t be a trap game for WVU and there won’t be another awful second half as we saw on Tuesday night. That won’t play once the Big 12 season starts and if we see that at Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers will be ringing in the New Year at a psychological disadvantage.

Northern Kentucky is much improved from last season and they have more true road wins than any other team in the country right now. Granted, those wins are against Miami of Ohio, Morehead State, Norfolk State and Southeast Missouri State, it is still impressive considering where the Norse were last season.

WVU has sort of lost the momentum from the UVA win in recent games (namely VMI and Radford), so the Mountaineers need to develop some kind of momentum going into conference play if they want to compete.

WHEN/WHERE

Date: Friday, December 23rd

Tip-Off Time: 4:00 PM ET

Where: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, WV

Tickets: General PublicWVU Students (TOWNIES, ASSEMBLE!!)

WATCH/LISTEN

TV: ROOT Sports Pittsburgh

Radio: WZST Variety 101 (100.9 FM in Morgantown) and the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Radio Affiliates)

Streaming Audio: Locate the Mountaineers Sports Network from IMG on TuneIn Radio (or the TuneIn app for smartphones)

ODDS

Spread: WVU by 24

THE ENEMY

Where are they from? Cincinnati, Ohio (basically); Highland Heights, Kentucky (officially)

Series History: WVU leads series 2-0. It is worth noting that the Norse did defeat the Mountaineers, 77-74, in an exhibition on November 4, 2011 back when NKU was a D-II school.

Last Time: West Virginia 107, Northern Kentucky 61 on November 13, 2015 in Morgantown

SB Nation Blog: Mid-Major Madness

Record: 9-3

Record in 2015-16: 9-21 (5-13 Horizon)

Head Coach: John Brannen (former assistant at St. Bonaventure, VCU and Alabama)

NCAA Basketball: Northern Kentucky at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

KEYS TO THE GAME

  • FREE THROWS!!! Are we really back on this again? WVU shot 48% from the charity stripe and was an abysmal 5 for 14 in the second half.
  • Maybe show up in the second half? Radford outscored the Mountaineers 35-31 in the second half. If the Highlanders can do it, you can bet that Baylor can do it too.

HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE (ON A SCALE OF 1-10)?

Two. The Norse are obviously much improved since last season. They’ve already equaled their win total from last season. However, I think the Mountaineers will go on a big scoring run late in the first half as they always do to end the game early. I’m as afraid of Northern Kentucky as I am of Santa’s reindeer.

(I know that makes no sense, but I’m pretty hyped for Christmas)

PREDICTION THAT WILL BE WRONG

I think NKU will put up a fight and keep the game within doubt longer than Bob Huggins or any other fan would feel comfortable, but I think the Mountaineers will eventually click and we see another 30+ point victory.

West Virginia 91, Northern Kentucky 59