On January 5, 2019 the West Virginia basketball team was sitting at an uncomfortable 7-4. Uncomfortable because they started the season ranked 13th, losing to Buffalo. Uncomfortable because things didn’t feel right in a couple of bad loses and there was an obvious lack of cohesion on the court. The only problem was that no one, at least in the stands, had any idea how bad things were.
To say there was a disaster looming would be one of the greatest understatements in college basketball history. Little did we know that the Mountaineers would lose 15 of their next 19 regular season games and would dismiss their leading scorers just a month later.
Fast-forward one year in the future and we find that same West Virginia basketball team 12-1 with some new faces. These Mountaineers have risen from the ashes are ranked 16th nationally coming off a big win against number two ranked Ohio State.
Now they return to the House of Game Changing Fouls, also know as the Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
The Mountaineers square off against third-ranked Kansas on Saturday in their first Big 12 game of the season.
Date: Saturday, January 4
Tip-off Time: 4pm/ 3pm Central
Where: Phog Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas
Streaming Live: Big 12 Now on ESPN+
Radio: WZST Variety 101 (100.9 FM in Morgantown) or the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Radio Affiliates)
Streaming Audio: Locate the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on TuneIn Radio (or the TuneIn Radio app for smartphones)
Satellite Radio: WVU XM 390, Kansas XM 81
Where are they from? Lawrence, KS
Series History: Kansas leads 12-7
Last Time: March 15, 2019, Kansas 88, WVU 74
2019-20 Record: 10-2, Last game W 72-56 @ Stanford
Head Coach: Bill Self (474-108 Kansas, 681-213 overall)
Key Players: G Devin Dotson, C Udoka Azubuike, G Ochai Agbaji
KEYS TO THE GAME:
This Mountaineer team has already faced down close games and highly-ranked teams.
Now they have to face something new, one of the toughest places to play in all of college basketball.
The things that make college basketball unlike any other type of basketball is the atmosphere in special places. There is no doubt that ‘The Phog’ is one of those special places and it presents a very daunting atmosphere.
These young Mountaineers will have to overcome that noise, play the game and ignore the officials when they make a call they don’t agree with.
It would also help if they could rebound and not turn the ball over - while overcoming the aforementioned atmosphere.
HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE (ON A SCALE OF 1-10)
11. West Virginia has never won in Lawrence and it will take everything going their way to win this one.
West Virginia 71, Kansas 66