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Old 01-30-2024, 09:37 AM   #1
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West Virginia

Wednesday, January 31st, 2024
7:00 PM
WVU Coliseum

The Bearcats (14-6, 3-4 Big 12, NET #32, KenPom #31) make their shortest Big 12 road trip of the season to Morgantown to face WVU (7-13, 2-5 Big 12, NET #152, KenPom #135) for the first time since January 2012.

With 16 seasons of Bob Huggins now in the rearview, the Mountaineers have struggled for consistency under interim head coach Josh Eilert as they entered the season with the least amount of returning minutes/scoring in the Big 12.

Despite a myriad of disappointing results in conference play so far, West Virginia have won their past two home games in upset fashion - defeating Texas 76-73 and Kansas 91-85.

Two notable stats from those games were WVU shooting a combined 19/38 (50%) from 3 (opponents shot a combined 16/45 - 35.5%) and drawing a total of 47 fouls (opponents drew 33).

The Moutaineers started the season shorthanded in a similar fashion to UC but have been given a recent boost by 5th-year 6'5 wing Raequan Battle (16.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg | two-time transfer), 4th-year 6'1 guard Noah Farrakhan (11.1 ppg, 3.9 ppg, 2.5 apg | two-time transfer), and 4th-year 6'3 guard Kerr Kriisa (11 ppg, 4.5 apg, 43% 3FG | suspended first 9 games).

Unless WVU's NET ranking vaults 15-20 places before the end of the season, this game will likely be cemented as Q3 on the Bearcats' team sheet.
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Old 01-30-2024, 03:53 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Queens_NYC View Post
... the first time since January 2012.
With 16 seasons of Bob Huggins now in the rearview...
Thanks for that. I feel old now.
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Old 01-30-2024, 04:33 PM   #3
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West Virginia has been a wildly inconsistent team this year, even after adding Battle, Farrakhan, and Kriisa into the fold. Despite going just 5-8 in the non-conference, WVU held second half leads against Virginia, St Johns, and SMU and took Ohio St to overtime. But they also lost to Radford and Monmouth at home. Then just a few days after taking down Kansas, they were down 21 late at UCF.

West Virginia doesn't have any consistent strengths, with getting to the foul line and keeping opponents off the foul line being their only top 100 "four factors" (though in conference they are putting opponents on the line more than any other team). They are a bad shooting team, especially inside the arc, and they normally don't force many turnovers. But of course they have had great games in those areas, including making double digit threes in their past three games and forcing 22 turnovers against Texas.

Despite all those recent newcomers, big man Quinn Slazinski has been their best player in conference play. He's shooting 40% on more than a few attempts per game, is hitting 50% inside the arc, and gets to the line 4 times per game where he makes 78%. He's a three level scorer who will be a tough cover. Kriisa is their most efficient scorer, but he's been a turnover machine, as has Kobe Johnson. Wings Kriisa, Josiah Harris, and Seth Wilson are the outside shooters to be aware of. PG Farrakhan is an awful shooter, with a field goal percentage under 32. We should be daring him to shoot. Battle is second on the team in minutes in conference, but he has been bad, hitting only 23% from three on over 4 attempts per game and not creating for anyone else.

Patrick Suemnick is their only good rebounder on the offensive end. They leave a lot of defensive rebounds to Farrakhan, who can then look for shooters on the break.

Outside of Slazinski, this is a team full of one dimensional players that should be very easy to gameplan against. I would put Skillings on Slazinksi and try to bother him with length. Put Newman on Kriisa and play him very tight on the perimeter, gambling for steals. Have Day Day back off Farrakhan and get in passing/driving lanes. And put Aziz on Suemnick, who is only 6'8 but has an offensive profile of a 5. I'll take my chances with Simas on Battle.

Things can go very wrong if you let one dimensional players play to their strengths though. We seem to do a bad job from the opening tip of executing gameplans, then make great adjustments at halftime. It's almost like we aren't advance scouting teams and instead coaching on the fly. I'm happy that we're making good adjustments, but I'd like to see us come out executing a gameplan for 40 minutes.

On offense I want us to continue attacking the rim like we did in the second half against UCF.
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