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West Virginia vs Valparaiso Preview: Mountaineers look for another non-conference win against the Crusaders

A week long break after the Myrtle Beach Invitational may have allowed the Mountaineers to get healthy as the non-conference schedule ramps up.

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

WHEN/WHERE

Date: Saturday, November 24th

Tip-Off Time: 2:00PM ET

Where: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, West Virginia

WATCH/LISTEN

TV: AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh

Streaming Video: Today’s game will be streamed across multiple platforms for users outside of the AT&T SportsNet viewing footprint. The stream will be available on WVUsports.com and the WVU Gameday App. Additionally, fans will be able to tune in live via Roku and Apple TV by searching for the “MountaineerTV” channel on each device.

Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Radio Affiliates); Sirius 94, XM 210

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

ODDS

Spread: West Virginia -16
Total: 139.5 Points

THE ENEMY

Where are they from? Valparaiso, Indiana

Series History: Valparaiso leads the all-time series 1-0.

Last Time: The only other meeting took place on Dec. 28, 2001, in the opening game of the Fiesta Bowl Classic in Tucson, Arizona. West Virginia led 32-31 at halftime before Valpo came away with a 76-57 victory.

SB Nation Blog: Underdog Dynasty

Record: 3-2

Record in 2017-18: 15-17 (6-12 Missouri Valley Conference)

Head Coach: Matt Lottich (3rd Season)

NCAA Basketball: Valparaiso at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

PROBABLE STARTERS

West Virginia

No. Name Pos Ht. Wt. Class Stats
No. Name Pos Ht. Wt. Class Stats
23 Esa Ahmad F 6-8 225 Sr. 13.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg
21 Wesley Harris F 6-8 200 Jr. 6.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg
50 Sagaba Konate F 6-8 250 Jr. 12.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg
10 Jermaine Haley G 6-7 215 Jr. 2.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg
14 Chase Harler G 6-3 210 Jr. 6.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Valparaiso

No. Name Pos Ht. Wt. Class Stats
No. Name Pos Ht. Wt. Class Stats
21 Derrik Smits C 7-1 240 Jr. 12.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg
0 Javon Freeman G 6-3 175 Fr. 13.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg
2 Deion Lavender G 6-3 205 Sr. 9.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg
4 Bakari Evelyn G 6-2 180 Jr. 9.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg
35 Ryan Fazekas G 6-7 200 Jr. 12.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg

KEYS TO THE GAME

  • Get the ball inside to Sags. West Virginia has struggled to get the ball down low for Sagaba Konate in its first two games. If they can start getting the ball into the post, we’ll start seeing this offense finally take the shape Bob Huggins wants.
  • Limit Turnovers. The Mountaineers did a better job at this vs. Saint Joseph’s, but Valparaiso enters this game averaging over 6 steals per game. If we continue taking care of the ball, we should be okay.

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

Five. Last Saturday vs. Saint Joseph’s was an improvement, but until we see these Mountaineers show some consistency, it’s still #LemonBootySZN. Lamont West isn’t going to turn in career high performances every game, and we shouldn’t expect him to.

PREDICTION THAT WILL BE WRONG

Sagaba Konate has a career day, and the Crusaders just can’t keep up.

West Virginia 84, Valparaiso 71