Baylor (16-11) at West Virginia (13-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 27, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: WVU Coliseum (14,000) -- Morgantown, West Virginia.
Television: Big 12 Network. Home Record: Baylor 11-4, WVU 8-4. Away Record:
Baylor 3-6, WVU 3-7. Neutral Record: Baylor 2-1, WVU 2-3. Conference Record:
Baylor 7-7, WVU 6-8. Series Record: Baylor leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The sliding Baylor Bears attempt to get back on the winning track
on Wednesday night, as they venture into Morgantown for a Big 12 Conference
matchup with the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Baylor was sitting pretty at 14-5 following a Jan. 26 win over TCU, looking
like one of the premier teams in the Big 12, but since that point it has been
on a steady decline with losses in six of eight tilts. The Bears dropped their
third straight game last Saturday at Oklahoma, 90-76, to dip to 16-11 overall
and 7-7 in conference.
WVU has done a solid job treading water in its first season as a member of the
Big 12, but at 13-14 overall and 6-8 in league action, it is hardly considered
a legitimate contender for the conference crown. The Mountaineers have fallen
in three of their last four games, which includes Saturday's 73-57 defeat at
home to nationally-ranked Oklahoma State.
These two teams met for the just second time two weeks ago when Baylor knocked
off West Virginia on Feb. 13 (80-60), extending its lead in the all-time
series to 2-0 as a result.
The Bears never had a shot in their latest game, as they fell behind by a
demoralizing 47-21 margin at the half and could never recover on their way to
a 14-point loss to Oklahoma. They salvaged a poor first 20 minutes with a
solid second half, shooting 46.2 percent from the field to make the game seem
much closer than it was. Pierre Jackson's final stat line appeared impressive
(28 points, eight rebounds), but he shot just 8-of-23 from the floor, which
included a lowly 3-of-13 effort from 3-point range. Isaiah Austin tallied 15
points and three blocks, while Brady Heslip scored 11 points in the setback.
On the season, Baylor has one of the Big 12's top offenses, as it nets 75.3
ppg on greater than 45 percent field goal efficiency, and while the scoring
defense has typically been solid (65.7 ppg), the squad has allowed 81 points
or more in each contest during its current three-game skid. Jackson is
arguably the conference's top player, ranking first in both scoring (19.2 ppg)
and assists (6.4 apg). Austin (13.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.5 bpg) and Cory Jefferson
(12.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.0 bpg) are one of the most feared frontcourt duos in the
The Mountaineers battled hard in the first half of their game against Oklahoma
State, going into intermission with only a two-point deficit, but they lost
control of the contest after the break as they were eventually saddled with
the 16-point defeat. They shot a poor 30.2 percent from the field, and the
blowout would have been even greater had it not been for their strong 21-of-26
showing from the foul line. The only players to net in double figures were
Aaric Murray (11 points) and Matt Humphrey (10 points), both of whom came off
the bench. WVU ranks in the lower-half of the Big 12 in both scoring offense
(65.8 ppg) and scoring defense (66.1 ppg), and it is one of just four teams in
the conference with a negative scoring margin (-0.3). The Mountaineers are the
rare team without a double-digit scorer, but they benefit from a deep
rotation, with seven players scoring at least 7.5 ppg. Murray (9.2 ppg) is
consistent on the boards (6.4 rpg) and at the defensive end (1.5 bpg, 0.9
spg), while Deniz Kilicli (8.8 ppg) is averaging 15.3 ppg over the last four
WVU has won twice as many games at home as it has lost (8-4), but its only
home wins in conference play has come against fellow league bottom-dwellers
Texas Tech, TCU and Texas. Baylor hasn't been itself of late, and it could be
in for more struggles on the road in this one, but figure for the Bears'
playmakers to come up big down the stretch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 70, West Virginia 64
02/27 10:35:15 ET
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