No. 7 Oklahoma (12-1) vs. West Virginia (13-1): 6:15 p.m. CT
Commentary: Jon Sciambi and Fran Fraschilla
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)
Line: WVU -4.5 (as of 10:30 AM CT)
About West Virginia
- Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers are famous for their use of the press, and that strategy has been especially effective this season. West Virginia is allowing only 64.9 points per game and is stealing the ball 10.5 times per contest (6th nationally). Those steals often result in transition buckets for an offense that averages 84.2 PPG. The Mountaineers are also 12th in KenPom’s adjusted defense rating.
- Trae Young is the best point guard (and player) in college basketball this season, but West Virginia’s Jevon Carter is no slouch himself. The senior is averaging 16.6 points per game and leads the nation with 3.7 steals per outing. You’d also be hard-pressed to find a tougher player in college basketball.
- After losing an early matchup against Texas A&M, the Mountaineers have won 13 straight games, which included a great win against the Virginia Cavaliers who are currently ranked No. 8.
- In its last trip to Morgantown, the Oklahoma Sooners pulled off a huge upset when Jordan Woodard scored the game-winner just before time expired.
- Offense vs. Press Virginia - Oklahoma leads the nation in scoring with 95.8 PPG, but West Virginia’s press has been able to rattle some of the nation’s best offenses over the past few years — particularly in Morgantown. However, teams that have found ways to beat that press consistently have often been able to win convincingly. Oklahoma moves the ball exceptionally well even when pressed, so its chances off pulling this off are decent. Another variable here will be officiating. When the refs let the Mountaineers “play their game”, WVU ends up getting away with an awful lot of defensive contact. That usually results in a West Virginia win, so we’ll have to see how they call it.
- Another big test for Trae Young - Since Oklahoma’s loss to Arkansas at the PK80 Invitational, Trae Young has been passing tough tests with flying colors. He did a phenomenal job against stout defensive teams such as Wichita State and TCU and did so in pretty tough environments. Morgantown will rock tonight, but don’t expect the moment to be too big for him. Oklahoma State did find some success early against Trae Young by being aggressive with him, and we should expect to see even more of that tonight. He’s responded well in tough situations before, but this should be the toughest one yet.
- Supporting cast - Trae Young’s teammates have been thriving as of late. Early on, they were struggling to consistently connect on the good looks that Young was creating, but that’s no longer the case. Christian James, Kameron McGusty and Brady Manek are playing with plenty of confidence, and the sky’s the limit if that continues to be the case.
There isn’t a tougher outcome to predict than one involving a game against West Virginia due to the variables mentioned above. Any team with a good point guard definitely has a puncher’s chance, but that press has also made great point guards look silly in the past. OU could win in blowout fashion, but they could also be run out of the gym. I think the WVU press and Trae Young will each shine at particular times, resulting in a close ballgame. Late-game heroics will get it done once again for the Sooners.
Oklahoma 92, West Virginia 89