The West Virginia men’s basketball team has fought its way to a strong start in non-conference play, including wins over Clemson and Pitt.
The Mountaineers have relied heavily on their defense thus far, and their statistical rankings back it up.
West Virginia currently ranks ninth in the country in turnovers forced, averaging 19.71 per game. The Mountaineers also seem to be taking care of the basketball on the offensive end, as they are third in the country in turnover margin. West Virginia ranks first in turnover margin in the Big 12, and are one of five Big 12 teams currently forcing 19 or more turnovers per game.
One of the biggest problems for West Virginia this season has been their ability to rebound. The Mountaineers rank 271st in the country in rebounding margin, and they are last in the Big 12 with a -2.1 rebounding margin — the next closest team in the conference is Texas at 2.7. If the Mountaineers are unable to turn people over at the same rate in conference play, opponents could feast on the glass against the Mountaineers.
Fifth year senior guard Taz Sherman has had quite the output offensively. Sherman is averaging 20.1 points per game, good enough for 30th in the country, and second in the Big 12. Fellow guard Sean McNeil is averaging 12 points per game, which puts him at 16th in the conference.
Coming into this season, Sherman and McNeil knew they were going to be relied upon heavily to carry this West Virginia team. That has been proven to be true with McNeil and Sherman ranking first and second in minutes played per game in the Big 12.
Fifth year transfer Dimon Carrigan has 12 blocked shots on the year. Carrigan, is currently third in the Big 12 in blocks per game with 1.7, while teammate Jalen Bridges is two spots behind him with 1.3 blocks per game.
While it is still early, through seven games these trends are starting to mean more and more as the season goes on. West Virginia has another three weeks of non-conference play, including a showdown with No. 17 UCONN looming on Wednesday.
Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography