MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– Head Coach Bob Huggins is searching for his 800th win when No. 12 West Virginia University hosts University of Missouri-Kansas City on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum.
Huggins sits in 10th place all-time on the NCAA Division I winningest coaches list with a 799-322 record during his 35th season as head coach. He is the third-winningest active Division I coach behind Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim.
The Mountaineers’ (8-1) full-court pressure defense has been giving teams fits all season. WVU leads the country in turnover margin (14.9), turnovers forced (26.0), offensive rebounds (16.6) and steals (13.7).
The Mountaineers have forced 234 turnovers and has grabbed 149 offensive rebounds.
Depth is an area WVU flourishes. Forward Esa Ahmad leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.7 points per game. Nathan Adrian is second, averaging 10.6 points. He leads the Mountaineers in rebounds (6.4 rebounds).
WVU’s backcourt is steady with the defensive-minded Jevon Carter. The junior point guard (9.1 points, 4.2 assists) leads the Big 12 in steals. Daxter Miles contributes 9.3 points per contest. Last Saturday he made 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.
The Mountaineers’ bench is averaging 43.3 points this season. Senior Teyvon Myers (9.4 points) has been a key contributor from the bench.
The Kangaroos (7-5) have an RPI of 141 and the highest-ranked opponent WVU has played in its five-game run against mid-majors.
But UMKC will have its hands full against the hard-nosed Mountaineers. The Kangaroos will be without Martez Harrison (16.5 points, 4.0 assists). The senior guard was dismissed from the team following a domestic violence charge.
Guard Lovell Boyd has stepped up his game in Harrison’s absence. The senior guard is averaging 19.8 points, 4.1 assists per game. In Thursday’s 80-75 loss to Nebraska Omaha he scored a career-high 27 points.
UMKC is ranked 18th in the nation in 3-pointers (9.9 per game) and will look to slow WVU’s press by launching a quick 3.
This is the first meeting between the two teams on the hardwood.
Huggins is 1-0 all-time against the Kangaroos. That meeting took place on Dec. 16, 1991 in Kansas City when Huggins was the head coach at Cincinnati.
Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. and can be seen on Root Sports.
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS