West Virginia is back in action Saturday afternoon when they take on the St. John’s Red Storm. West Virginia is off to their best start in four seasons with a 7-0 record.
The two teams will matchup for the first time since their last Big East game on January 25, 2012. The Red Storm are off to a 7-2 start this season, lacking a real quality win on the season.
Where and when: Madison Square Garden 12:00 pm E.T.
Matchup to watch: The big matchup to watch on Saturday is going to be which team can hold onto the basketball better. West Virginia comes into the game averaging 13.1 turnovers a game while St. Johns averages 13.7. Both teams also have been able to capitalize off forcing turnovers, averaging 15 plus points per game off their opponents miscues. In a game that likely will be a close contest, not turning over the basketball is paramount. Whichever team does a better job of this is going to win this game.
Picks to click: St. Johns – Mustapha Heron West Virginia – Derek Culver
The Red Storm have one of the best shooters in all of college basketball in Mustapha Heron. The senior guard has shot 38 three pointers on the season and made 19 of them. That’s good for a 50% three point field goal percentage. Early this season against Central Connecticut State, Heron was 6/7 on threes and scored 30 points. He followed this up with 25 points against Mercer. If St. Johns is going to win this game, Heron will be the biggest part of the victory.
For West Virginia, Derek Culver came up huge in their last game against Rhode Island. The sophomore forward scored 25 points in 32 minutes and recorded 11 rebounds. When the West Virginia offense is at their best, Culver is at his best. In a big-time matchup in a legendary arena, the Mountaineers need Culver to duplicate his performance from last weekend.
Game prediction: St. Johns 78 West Virginia 73
West Virginia is a better team than St. Johns, but I believe the Mountaineers suffer their first loss of the season on Saturday. Mustapha Heron is going to cause problems on defense for West Virginia, and they will struggle to control the basketball. It will be a close one, but St. Johns will pull out the victory.