West Virginia (8-7) at Iowa State (11-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hilton Coliseum (14,376) -- Ames, Iowa. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: West Virginia 5-2, Iowa St. 9-0. Away Record: West Virginia 1-2, Iowa St. 1-3. Neutral Record: West Virginia 2-3, Iowa St. 1-1. Conference Record: West Virginia 1-2, Iowa St. 1-1. Series Record: First- ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Big 12 action is on tap in Ames on Wednesday night, as the Iowa State Cyclones welcome the West Virginia Mountaineers to the Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State is currently boasting of a 16-game homecourt win streak, extended this past weekend with an 82-62 rout of Texas. Fred Hoiberg's Cyclones are as dangerous an offensive team as there is in the nation, the only team in the country to score 70 or more points in every game this season. ISU has won five of its last six games overall and are 11-4 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
Bob Huggins' Mountaineers have had their ups and downs this season as an 8-7 overall record certainly indicates. West Virginia has dropped two of its last three games overall, with league setbacks to Oklahoma (67-57) and Kansas State (65-64).
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two new conference foes.
Lack of consistency at the offensive end has been the primary culprit in West Virginia's struggles thus far. The Mountaineers come into this contest averaging just 68.0 ppg and being held under 40 percent shooting overall (.397). The struggles have extended beyond the arc as well, with WVU ranked among the nation's worst in 3-point shooting (.283), averaging under five treys per game (4.6). Junior center Aaric Murray leads the team in scoring, but at a modest 10.6 ppg. Sophomore guard Juwan Staten is a close second with 10.5 ppg.
The Mountaineers had a couple of chances to steal a victory against Kansas State last time out, but neither shot found the bottom of the basket in a one- point loss to the Wildcats in Morgantown. West Virginia had a surprisingly strong showing in terms of offensive efficiency, converting 51.1 percent from the floor, including a ridiculous 64.7 percent in the first half, but the result was still a loss. Jabarie Hinds led the way with 15 points in the setback. Murray finished with 11 and Terry Henderson tacked on 10. West Virginia faltered at the free-throw line though, converting just 12-of-22 charity tosses in the game.
Iowa State shot just 43.9 percent from the floor against Texas, but nailed 11- of-26 3-point attempts to cruise to a 20-point win last time out. ISU was extremely careful with the basketball, committing just five turnovers in the game and outscoring the Longhorns 23-5 in points off miscues. Georges Niang led four Cyclones in double figures with 18 points. Will Clyburn just missed a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Korie Lucious almost completed the feat as well with 10 points and nine assists. Tyrus McGee kept his long-range shooting going with four 3-pointers and 15 points off the bench.
There is no shortage of scorers on the Iowa State roster, as five players are averaging double figures for a team that ranks fourth nationally in scoring (82.7 ppg). Clyburn headlines the group at 14.3 ppg. McGee, who leads the Big 12 in 3-pointers (3.0 per game) and 3-point accuracy (.484) is a close second in the scoring column at 13.3 ppg. Niang is next in line at 11.5 ppg, followed by Melvin Ejim (10.8 ppg) and Lucious (10.1 ppg). Ejim is the conference's top rebounder at 9.3 caroms per game.
This is a tough matchup for West Virginia. The Mountaineers haven't exactly thrived on the road this season and simply lack the personnel to match basket for basket with the explosive Cyclones.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa State 79, West Virginia 62
01/16 10:45:28 ET