This late afternoon, the No. 6 West Virginia men’s basketball team is welcoming the No. 3 Baylor Bears to the WVU Coliseum, in what gives the Mountaineers a chance to boost their resume.
West Virginia (17-6, 8-2 Big 12) and Baylor (18-1, 9-1 Big 12) finally get to match up with each other after multiple postponements and the eventual cancelation of the game in Waco, Texas. This game is being played in Morgantown, West Virginia, today to make sure both teams aren’t traveling too much right before the conference tournament.
The Mountaineers rolling into this big game with a three-game winning streak, beating Texas (84-82), TCU (74-66) and Kansas State (65-43). In that stretch, Derek Culver and Sean McNeil have been leading the charge.
Culver has averaged 14.3 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game in the winning streak. The junior forward has recorded 11 double-doubles on the season. McNeil—a junior guard—has put up 13 points per game on 2.6 threes per game during the winning streak.
Deuce McBride and Taz Sherman have been dealing with nagging injuries over the last 10 days or so, but WVU coach Bob Huggins says they’re better and will be ready to go tonight.
Baylor is still in the process of finding their original selves, as they will compete in their third game back since their three-week COVID pause. Since returning, the Bears have beat Iowa State (77-72), while taking their first loss of the season to Kansas (71-58), on Saturday.
Baylor is highlighted by potential Wooden Award finalist Jared Butler. Butler averages 16.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists. The 6’3″ guard struggled against the Jayhawks, recording a season-low of five points on 2-of-9 shooting.
Butler is supported by upperclassmen MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell, Mark Vital and Matthew Mayer.
Redshirt Sophomores Adam Flagler and Jonathon Tchamwa Tchatchoua (one of the best names in sports right now) have increased their productivity playing on their new teams. Flagler—a former player at Presbyterian—averages 10.5 points per game in his first season in Waco. Tchamwa Tchatchoua—a former UNLV Rebel—has averaged 7.5 points and has pulled down 6.0 rebounds in 18 games.
Huggins has expressed his praise towards Baylor’s offense.
“It’s a great weapon (Baylor’s three-point shooting),” Huggins said. “They’re going to bring a four-man and who shoots it as well as the guards do. We’ve got to guard them, I think we are well aware of that.”
The Mountaineers and Bears will tipoff in Morgantown, West Virginia later today at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.