Virginia Tech (7-0) at West Virginia (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: WVU Coliseum (14,000) -- Morgantown, West Virginia. Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: VT 6-0, WVU 1-0. Away Record: VT 1-0, WVU 0-1. Neutral Record: VT 0-0, WVU 2-2. Conference Record: VT 0-0, WVU 0-0. Series Record: West Virginia leads, 46-29.
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Tech Hokies try to keep their perfect record intact as they head to Morgantown for a non-conference duel with the West Virginia Mountaineers.
James Johnson has yet to experience a loss through seven games as a head coach. His Hokies upset the No. 17 Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday after they downed Iowa by 16 points in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 27. Tech has now been 7-0 since the 1982-83 season and it is nearing the program record of 11 straight wins to open a season set twice in 1909-10 and 1910-11. Johnson, who came into the season as the only first-time head coach in the ACC, has instilled a high-powered offensive system which is netting 86.1 ppg. Tech has held its opponents to 72.1 ppg on 42 percent shooting from the floor.
The Mountaineers improved to 3-3 on Wednesday with a 69-59 win over their intrastate rival Marshall in the state capital. The victory was the second in a row for WVU, which began its first season as a member of the Big 12 with only one win in four outings. After being dealt back-to-back losses by Davidson and Oklahoma in the Old Spice Classic, Bob Huggins guided his squad to a 94-69 rout of VMI prior to his team's win over the Thundering Herd. The Mountaineers are outscoring their opposition by an average of 5.7 ppg this season despite enduring a 34-point loss at Gonzaga in their season opener.
This will be the 76th meeting between the two schools. The Mountaineers hold a 46-29 advantage in the all-time series. However, Virginia Tech has won the last two games in the series and two-of-the-last-three games in Morgantown.
The Hokies overcame a four-point halftime deficit to earn an 81-71 decision over Oklahoma State their last time out by converting 20-of-22 attempts at the free throw line after the intermission. Tech also held the Cowboys to 37.5 percent shooting from the field in the final 20 minutes and to 4-of-23 shooting from three-point range in the contest. Senior guard Erick Green continued his stellar play and earned the ACC Co-Player of the Week for the second consecutive time by scoring 28 points in just 26 minutes of action. Green is the third-leading scorer in Division I with 24.9 ppg. Junior forward Jarell Eddie has found his fair share of scoring opportunities and is netting 17.1 ppg while sophomore guard Robert Brown is a serviceable third option with 13.4 ppg.
WVU was lucky to escape its bout with Marshall with the decision as the Thundering Herd converted only 12-of-22 attempts at the free throw line in the contest. The Mountaineers were much more efficient at the charity stripe with 24 makes on 30 attempts. They also held a 43-35 edge in the rebounding battle and committed five less turnovers. Senior forward Deniz Kilicli paced the team with a season-high 21 points. The native of Turkey is pacing the team with 11.3 ppg. Juwan Staten, who added 12 points versus MU, is second on the squad with 11 ppg. La Salle transfer Aaric Murray made his mark in the contest with 10 rebounds. The junior center is averaging 9.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest in his first season with the team.
It will be tough for the Hokies to keep the ball rolling against Huggins and the Mountaineers. WVU has played much better in recent weeks and will give Virginia Tech all it can handle. Murray's rebounding ability will give his team a few extra possessions, but WVU will have to figure out how to stop Green, which is something nobody seems to be able to do this year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 78, West Virginia 75
12/08 10:33:33 ET