West Virginia (11-9) at Baylor (13-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 28, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ferrell Center (10,284) -- Waco, Texas. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: WVU 6-4, Baylor 9-2. Away Record: WVU 2-4, Baylor 0-3. Neutral Record: WVU 3-1, Baylor 4-1. Conference Record: WVU 3-4, Baylor 1-5. Series Record: Series is tied, 3-3.
GAME NOTES: The Baylor Bears will get a chance to halt a lengthy losing streak on Tuesday evening, as the West Virginia Mountaineers invade the Ferrell Center for a Big 12 Conference clash.
West Virginia has also been struggling of late, with losses in four of its last five games, following an 81-75 setback against Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Mountaineers are still treading water with an 11-9 overall record, but they are just 3-4 against the conference and 2-4 on the road. They will host Kansas State in their next duel.
The once nationally-ranked Bears have dropped four straight contests, including a 74-60 decision at home against Texas on Saturday. The defeat was just the second in 11 tries at the Ferrell Center for Baylor, which is a miserable 1-5 in Big 12 play. Up next is a trip to Oklahoma State.
The all-time series between these squads is tied at 3-3. Baylor has earned its trio of victories during the last three meetings.
Eron Harris (21 points) and Juwan Staten (19 points) performed admirably, but once again they got little help from the rest of the roster in West Virginia's recent loss to Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers were outscored in the paint (32-12) and off of turnovers (23-14).
Harris (17.6 ppg) and Staten (17.3 ppg, 6 rpg, 5.8 apg) are two of the better individual performers in the Big 12, ranking second and third, respectively. Staten actually leads the conference in assists and ranks fourth in steals (1.5 spg). Thanks in large part to the duo, the Mountaineers are netting 78.8 ppg and shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, earning spots near the middle of the conference in each category. Unfortunately, Terry Henderson (12.3 ppg) is the only other player on the roster averaging in double figures.
Baylor really struggled to find its shot against Texas, as the team hit on just 32.1 percent from the floor, including a ghastly 3-of-17 effort from beyond the arc. Gary Franklin scored 14 points off the bench to pace the Bears in the losing effort.
Baylor is scoring at a similar rate as West Virginia, netting 76.3 ppg and shooting 46.8 percent from the field. However, the Bears have been a strong defensive unit most nights, allowing just 67.8 ppg on 41.7 percent shooting. There is a bit more balance to the offensive attack for the club, with Cory Jefferson (12.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg) being the leading scorer among four contributors averaging in double figures. Jefferson is also the team's top rebounder, ranking third in the conference in that category. Kenny Chery (11.1 ppg, 5.1 apg) and Brady Heslip (10.7 ppg) help in the backcourt, while Isaiah Austin (10.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.7 bpg) is the best shot blocker in the Big 12.
Superior balance and a decided advantage up front should allow the Bears to top the Mountaineers, who are too reliant on Harris and Staten.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 77, West Virginia 69
01/28 10:34:16 ET