Fresh off a 25 point loss on Wednesday, the West Virginia Mountaineers return home to Morgantown in search for just their second Big 12 Conference win of the season.
The Mountaineers, who enter today’s game 9-12 overall and just 1-7 in conference play, are desperately seeking to put a terrible January behind them. They’ll share the court today with the Oklahoma Sooners, who currently sit in eighth place in the conference standings with a 15-6 overall record and 3-5 conference record.
The Sooners are hot off an embarrassing loss of their own, a 30-point blowout loss to Baylor at home in Norman. The Sooners scored a season-low 47 points against the Bears, and had just two players in double figures.
Statistically, these two programs are about as evenly matched as we’re going to see in conference play. Will the Mountaineers be able to put a month of losses behind them and at least partially redeem what is shaping up to be the worst season under Bob Huggins? They couldn’t ask for a better place to start than at home against this Oklahoma squad.
Matchup: West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Date: Saturday, February 2, 2019
Time: Noon EST, 11:00 AM Central
Spread: Oklahoma -2.5 with the total set at 147.5 points.
Where to watch: ESPN2 and WatchESPN
Key Players to Watch
For the Mountaineers:
James Bolden: Beetle didn’t travel to Ames for West Virginia’s 98-63 loss to the Iowa State Cyclones on Wednesday, after suffering an ankle injury during last Saturday’s loss to the No. 1 ranked Tennessee Volunteers. As of the time of writing, Bolden’s status for today’s game against Oklahoma is uncertain. Beetle’s ability to contribute minutes to the Mountaineers today will be crucial to their chances of beating Lon Kruger’s Sooners and picking up their second Big 12 Conference win of the season. If Beetle can’t go, look for Jordan McCabe to get the bulk of the minutes at the point.
Derek Culver: With the continued absence of Sagaba Konate and the inconsistent performance we see from Esa Ahamad, Culver continues to become more and more important to West Virginia’s success on the court. If Culver can get back in double figures and control the offensive glass, you have to like the Mountaineers’ chances against the Sooners.
For the Sooners:
Christian James: The senior guard leads the Sooners with 16.3 points per game, and can be deadly if he gets hot. However, James is coming off his worst performance of the season, where he went 2-of-9 (22%) from the field in Oklahoma’s 30-point loss to the Baylor Bears this past Monday. It’ll be interesting to see how he rebounds from the poor performance.
West Virginia 67, Oklahoma 63