MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 1 team in the nation will head to the WVU Coliseum on January 12 to face the No. 10/11 West Virginia Mountaineers.
Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks earned the No. 1 ranking by beginning the 2015-16 season with a 14-1 record. KU’s best win came over a ferocious No. 2 Oklahoma team in an exhausting double-overtime battle, while their sole loss was handed down by former No. 1 Michigan State back in November.
According to Devin Williams, beating Kansas, and maybe even the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners, is West Virginia’s chance to shock the world.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” said Williams. “We’ve got the guys in the gym. It’s a chance to shock the world. It’s a chance to prove where we wanna be. It’s still a long season, but these next two games… let’s take care of that first and just go out there and play. It’s fun.”
Williams, who leads the team in PPG, isn’t the only Mountaineer mentally and physically ready to play the nation’s top team.
“I feel like they still do the same thing they did last year,” said guard Jevon Carter. Carter scored 13 points and pulled down six rebounds in West Virginia’s victory over Kansas last season at home.
Jaysean Paige, who got the starting nod against Oklahoma State last week due to an ankle injury suffered by usual starter Daxter Miles, hopes to carry the momentum from that victory over to Tuesday’s game.
“Well, they’re number one in the country,” said Paige. “They’re a good team, so you’ve gotta come to play.”
According to Coach Bob Huggins, Daxter Miles should be ready to go against the Jayhawks. The starting guard sprained his ankle in practice prior to the Oklahoma State game.
“I’ve never played a guy that didn’t practice. Ever,” said Huggins in his post-game press conference, referring to Miles absence. Reports indicate that Miles has practiced the last two days since then, and is nearing 100 percent as Tuesday approaches.
Since improving on his prior foul troubles, Jonathan Holton is also prepared to contribute in a big way tomorrow night.
“How we’re approaching it, we beat this same team last year,” said Holton. “We could’ve came out twice last year with wins. The second game, it didn’t really happen but we just need to go back out onto the drawing board and see what we do best. We’re gonna press and hack and we’re gonna get to the ball and we’re gonna try to make Kansas turn it over a little bit.”
No. 10/11 West Virginia will face No. 1 Kansas tomorrow night at 7 at the WVU Coliseum. The game will be televised on ESPN 2.
Cover image credit: si.com