Oklahoma (9-3) at West Virginia (7-5)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: WVU Coliseum (14,000) -- Morgantown, West Virginia.
Television: Big 12 Network. Home Record: OU 4-1, WVU 5-0. Away Record: OU 2-1,
WVU 0-2. Neutral Record: OU 3-1, WVU 2-3. Conference Record: OU 0-0, WVU 0-0.
Series Record: OU leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: For the second time this season, the Oklahoma Sooners and West
Virginia Mountaineers will meet up, although this time around they are meeting
at WVU Coliseum in their respective Big 12 openers.
These teams met in Orlando, Florida over the Thanksgiving holiday as part of
the Old Spice Classic. The Sooners held West Virginia to 36.2-percent shooting
from the floor to claim a 77-70 victory. OU has won two of the three meetings
in the all-time series between these new conference foes.
Oklahoma enters the contest with wins in three of its last four outings. The
Sooners have been idle since a 72-42 rout over Texas A&M Corpus Christi on New
Year's Eve. Following this tilt, they'll get another week off before hosting
Oklahoma State next Saturday.
West Virginia is playing its first official Big 12 conference game. The
Mountaineers have won six of their last eight games, including a 74-67 triumph
over Eastern Kentucky in their most recent contest this past Sunday. The
Mountaineers have an 85-percent success rate at WVU Coliseum over the last
eight seasons and are 5-0 at home this season.
As a sophomore at Wyoming in 2010-11, Amath M'Baye started all 31 games and
averaged 12.0 points and a team-best 5.7 rebounds for the Cowboys. After
transferring to OU and sitting out last season due to NCAA rules, M'Baye has
started to get more comfortable in a Sooners jersey over the last two games.
He tallied 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting to go along with six rebounds and
three steals in a win over Ohio University last Saturday, then followed it up
with a 14-point, six-rebound performance against Corpus Christi two days
later. Steven Pledger (11.5 ppg) led the way with 17 points in Monday's win
behind a 5-of-10 shooting effort from the perimeter. The Sooners forced 18
turnovers in the victory while holding Corpus Christi to 29.3-percent shooting
from the floor. With the defense in midseason form, leading scorer Romero Osby
(12.6 ppg) took only one shot and finished with eight points and six boards in
WVU led the Colonels by as many as 16 points early in the second half of
Sunday's matchup. However, EKU shot a blistering 63 percent from the floor
over the final 20 minutes, which included eight 3-pointers, and eventually
took the lead late in the contest. In comparison, the Mountaineers made only
7-of-21 field goals after halftime. But WVU also made 25-of-30 free throws in
the second half, including nine of 10 over the final four minutes to thwart
EKU's rally and seal the win. Juwan Staten and Gary Browne scored 17 apiece,
while Aaric Murray pulled down a dozen rebounds to go along with eight points
for the Mountaineers. Still, coach Bob Huggins voiced plenty of displeasure
following the game. His team has struggled offensively through stretches this
season. Staten (11.1 ppg), a transfer from Dayton, and Murray (10.7 ppg, 7.8
rpg), a La Salle transfer, are the only players averaging double figures for
the Mountaineers, who are shooting just 40.5 percent from the floor as a team.
Both of these teams rely heavily on transfers and both are seeking an identity
as they enter Big 12 play. Although they nearly squandered an easy victory
their last time out, look for the Mountaineers to learn their lesson and put
forth a full 40 minutes of solid basketball playing on their home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: West Virginia 81, Oklahoma 74
01/05 10:35:30 ET