MORGANTOWN W.Va- Coming off a nine-point loss at home to the #3 rated Kansas Jayhawks, the Mountaineers (18-6, 6-5) will have to turn right around and head to Waco to take on the #1 rated Baylor Bears (22-1, 11-0) on the road this Saturday.
Despite being in mid-February, this is the first time the Mountaineers and Bears have faced off this season, and it comes at a time where the Mountaineers could really use a marquee win on their resume.
The Bears are led by Jared Butler, Macio Teague, and Freddie Gillespie. Butler leads the team averaging 15 points per game, while Teague averages 14.
Scott Drew is heading a tremendous defensive-minded team in Waco, that has proven the ability to grind out victories late in the game with their toughness and sufficient guard play.
One of the team’s toughest players, Freddie Gillespie, has risen up scouts draft boards this season with an incredible story to boot.
The former Baylor walk-on, now a redshirt senior, transferred from Division III Carleton College where he was second-team All-MIAC as a Sophomore in 2017. Gillespie now leads the team with 8.9 rebounds per game.
Baylor’s lone loss this season was back in November when they lost to the Washington Huskies in a one-score contest.
The Mountaineers have five victories in program history against #1 rated teams, with the last being against Baylor, in Morgantown back in 2017.
The Bears meanwhile, have won six straight games over ranked opponents coming into Saturday’s matchup.
The keys to the game will be keeping Tshiebwe and Culver out of foul trouble early, as well as limiting the production of Butler and Teague.
The Mountaineers will need their bigs in the paint fighting Gillespie for rebounds, especially on the offensive end with how effective Baylor’s defense has been in limiting good looks at the basket.
Butler or Teague may not be the Devon Dotson that we saw this past week, but they are the go-to guys for Baylor and can make shots when counted on.
If the Mountaineers come out with the same energy they had in the first half against Kansas, they could have an opportunity to keep it close late, and have a shot at the upset on the road.
The game will tip-off at 4:00 P.M and will only be available for stream on ESPN+.