The No. 10 West Virginia men’s basketball team will welcome the Kansas State Wildcats to the WVU Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, after a week away from home.
The Mountaineers (16-6, 9-4 Big 12) are coming off two wins in the lone star state against Texas and TCU. WVU was supposed to play No. 2 Baylor in Waco, Texas, on Thursday night but the Big 12 didn’t want the Mountaineers running around the state of Texas in one week before the conference tournament. It’s safe to say the team was happy to come home early.
“I think we are all happy to go home,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said following the win over TCU. “We’ve only have played two games but it seems like we’ve played a lot more. It’s just good to be able to go home and sleep in your own bed.”
West Virginia will now spend the rest of the regular season in Morgantown, West Virginia, as they welcome Kansas State (7-18, 3-13 Big 12) first out of the four teams that will eventually make the trip to the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers and Wildcats faced each other on Jan. 23, with WVU taking the game 69-47. This marked the highest margin of victory on the road in conference play by West Virginia since 2009. If you remember, this was the first game back from the COVID pause that WVU took for two weeks.
Deuce McBride led the Mountaineers in that game with an 18-point game performance. McBride shot 7-of-12 from the field against the Wildcats.
Since the game in Manhattan, Kansas, in January, the Mountaineers have gone 7-2, beating Texas Tech (88-87), Iowa State (76-72, Kansas (91-79), Texas Tech (82-71), Texas (84-82) and TCU (74-66). WVU has only lost to Florida (85-80) and Oklahoma (91-90 2OT) in the last nine games.
What a crazy year it’s been for Kansas State! The Wildcats went from losing to Fort Hays State (D2) to beating No. 7 Oklahoma on Tuesday night.
Crazy Stat: Kansas State is the second school in history to lose to a D2 program while beating a top 10 team in the same season.
The Wildcats are on a two-game winning streak, which ended a 13-game losing streak. Before beating the Sooners, KSU went into Fort Worth, Texas, and beat TCU.
Kansas State is led by senior guard Mike McGuirl, who is the last remaining player from the Elite-8 team in the 2017-18 season. McGuirl is averaging 11.8 points per game in his senior campaign.
Bruce Weber’s team is one of the youngest in the country, as KSU has 11 freshmen and sophomores. Three of their freshman class are contributing very well with Nijel Pack (12.1 pts, 3.7 reb, 3.9 ast), Davion Bradford (7.3 pts, 4.3 reb, 0.2 ast) and Selton Miguel (7.2 pts, 2.8 reb, 2.0 ast).
“I think they’ve got the best young group in our league. Their (KSU) freshmen are talented,” Huggins said.
“I think they get better and better with each game they play,” Huggins added.
The Mountaineers will look to return to the WVU Coliseum on Saturday at 4 p.m. when they host Kansas State. The game will be on ESPN2.