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Mountaineers in desperation mode as they head to Fort Worth

After falling to No. 4 Kansas at home, the West Virginia Mountaineers have now lost 10 of their last 11 games. As the season is in its final stretch, the Mountaineers need to have a successful road trip to have a shot at the NCAA Tournament. 

West Virginia (14-12, 3-10 Big 12) will have two straight road games, the first of which will be against the TCU Horned Frogs at 8 p.m. on Monday night. 

TCU (16-8, 5-7 Big 12) is in the midst of a four-game losing streak that included road losses to No. 9 Texas Tech and No. 7 Baylor. 

The Horned Frogs, led by head coach Jamie Dixon, have turned their team around and put themselves in a position to make the NCAA Tournament. During the 2020-2021 season, TCU finished the season with a 12-14 record and missed the NCAA Tournament. 

The Horned Frogs are led offensively by sophomore guard Mike Miles. Miles averages 14.7 points per game along with four assists and almost four rebounds per game. 

TCU has experience with junior forward Emmanuel Miller and senior forward Chuck O’Bannon. Miller averages 10 points per game along with six rebounds per game. Miller also scored 16 points in the Horned Frogs’ latest defeat to No. 7 Baylor. O’Bannon averages nearly 10 points per game and is shooting 42% from the field this season. 

Jaime Dixon has also seen production from 6-foot-11 center Eddie Lampkin. Lampkin can challenge shots and score around the rim, as he is averaging six points per game while shooting 60% from the field. 

As for West Virginia, there are multiple things to clean up after the loss to No. 6 Kansas. The Mountaineers scored just 58 points, and that was with Sean McNeil scoring 18 points. 

McNeil has struggled mightily during the losing streak but came out and shot 12 three-pointers against Kansas. While his shooting percentage was not ideal, I’m sure many people are content with the sharp shooter taking more shots in rhythm. 

Outside of Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman scoring double digits, there weren’t many positives to take away from the loss to Kansas. The third leading scorer was Jalen Bridges who scored nine points, but only shot 3-for-9 from the field. 

With the Mountaineers pushing through the losing streak, they will need to see some matchup wins against TCU. If someone like O’Bannon is heating up for the Horned Frogs, then WVU will need good forward play from Jalen Bridges or Gabe Osabuohien to match them and take the load off Taz Sherman. 

The matchups inside the post will also be something to keep an eye on. More than likely, Isaiah Cotrell will be tasked with guarding the 6-foot-11 Lampkin for the beginning of game. Cotrell is 6-foot-10 himself but has struggled all season to get essential rebounds and shut his defenders down. 

Pauly Paulicap will come off the bench to help, but he is three inches shorter than Lampkin. Dimon Carrigan may be asked to come in for Huggins and try to help Cotrell and Paulicap out. 

This game should be interesting, as it is the first time the two teams have met all season. TCU was slated to come to Morgantown and play the Mountaineers on January 3rd, but the game got postponed due to COVID-19. 

The Mountaineers and Horned Frogs will finally meet each other on Monday night at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. and the action will be televised on ESPN+. 

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