West Virginia is coming off an unexpected second bye week after Oklahoma was unable to play in Morgantown this past weekend due to COVID cases within the Sooner program. When the Mountaineers take the field Saturday at #12 Iowa State, 20 days will have passed between games.
In the past few games, the West Virginia wide receivers have found a boost in their play and a familiar face has risen back to his productive level. Redshirt senior wide receiver T.J. Simmons started the season in an awkward way when he was suspended for the season opener against Eastern Kentucky, but now he is slowing getting back to statistical prominence for the Mountaineers.
The NCAA is not counting the 2020-21 athletic year against the eligibility for any fall or winter sport student-athletes. So West Virginia senior defensive lineman Darius Stills could return next season if he wanted, but it seems clear that his plan is to give professional football a shot when the 2020 campaign comes to a close.
Neal Brown, on Monday, singled out the play of Iowa State running back Breece Hall, whom Brown says is “playing as good as any offensive player in our league right now,” tight end Charlie Kolar, and linebacker Mike Rose on the defensive side of the ball.
Derek Culver’s MVP performance at the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic has earned him recognition from the Big 12 Conference. West Virginia’s junior forward is the Big 12 Player of the Week. He averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks while shooting 52.9 percent from the field at the Crossover Classic. Culver is also shooting 75 percent from the foul line after making just 51.7 percent of his free throws last season.
Following a 3-0 start to the 2020-21 campaign, the West Virginia men’s basketball team has moved up four spots to #11 in the latest AP Top 25. The next opponent for the Mountaineers, Gonzaga, maintains a firm grip on the top spot in the poll and Big 12 foe Baylor is next at #2. Other Big 12 teams in the poll include #7 Kansas, which dropped one spot after a loss to Gonzaga. Texas and Texas Tech are tied at #17.
West Virginia’s junior forward Derek Culver averaged a double-double, with 15 points and 10 rebounds per game, at the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic. As a result, he was named the MVP of the tournament. Culver also averaged two blocks and two assists per game while in South Dakota. Now he and the Mountaineers are preparing to face the top team in the country.
When West Virginia’s home opener was postponed due to COVID cases within the Youngstown State program, an opportunity arose that was too good for Bob Huggins to refuse. While in South Dakota and preparing for their season opener, Huggins saw a chance to elevate their non-conference schedule. And he seized it.
West Virginia Athletics
It us a basketball and football episode as the guys look ahead to Wednesday’s date with top-rated Gonzaga and Saturday’s gridiron meeting with #12 Iowa State. The Zags have been dominant in their first two games, but West Virginia’s inside presence of Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe should provide an intriguing matchup. Iowa State has already clinched a spot in the Big 12 title game, so can WVU catch them napping?
The West Virginia women’s soccer remains in the top five of the United Soccer Coaches poll, as the fall season ends. The Mountaineers, who finished second in the Big 12, rank #4 in the latest edition of the poll.
Former West Virginia men’s basketball forward Sagaba Konate has signed a contract with PAOK BC of the Greek Basket League. According to a statement from the club, Konate will join the team in Greece this week. His contract will expire at the end of the 2020-21 season.
Around the Big 12
West Virginia’s Derek Culver and TCU’s Mike Miles picked up the season opening Big 12 men’s basketball weekly awards. Culver earned his first career player of the week, while Miles was named the conference newcomer of the week.
After a big Thanksgiving football weekend, there is plenty to digest in the latest Big 12 Snapshot. Iowa State has grabbed one of the spots in the conference title game, Texas may be in the market for a new coach, and Baylor won a game for the first time since September. Here is a look at the Big 12 Snapshot heading into the first Saturday in December.
Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, while Iowa State defensive lineman Latrell Bankston earned the Defensive Player of the Week honor. BU’s John Mayers collected Special Teams Player of the Week, as Oklahoma State’s Dezmon Jackson was named Newcomer of the Week.
Texas’ Charli Collier was named the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, while Kansas’ Ioanna Chatzileonti was the Freshman of the Week during Week 1 of the season.
Around the NCAA
The top five teams in the Predictor remain the same, though there was also some movement in that group. While Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame also saw their percentages climb, it was Clemson’s return to the top four that was the most notable change near the top. The Tigers, who took down Pittsburgh 52-17, saw their playoff odds increase from 33.5% to 50.7%.
With Jimmy V Week starting Tuesday there are four marquee games on the docket on back-to-back nights: Kentucky vs. Kansas and Michigan State at Duke on Tuesday; and Illinois vs. Baylor and Gonzaga vs. West Virginia on Wednesday. Check out the college basketball power rankings before those games mix things up.
The COVID-19 outbreak in Baltimore has led to the Ravens-Steelers game being postponed to Wednesday. It becomes the first game of the NFL season to get postponed three times.
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