West Virginia is back in action on Wednesday night, as they host old Big East foe, No. 15 UConn in the Big East/Big 12 Challenge at the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (7-1) come into this game having defeated Bellarmine and Radford in the past week. Despite the victories, West Virginia knows this game will be a much tougher test.
The Huskies (8-1) have only lost one game this year, a four point loss to Michigan State on the second day of a back-to-back, after beating a ranked team in double overtime the night prior.
“They’re really really good,” West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said of UConn. “Athletic as they can be. They remind me of some of the teams of the past. They do a great job in transition, really rebound it, superior athletes.
Two of the top three scorers for UConn guard Tyrese Martin and forward Adama Sonogo, but will be out with injury for tonight’s game, but West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said that will not ham
Forward Adama Sonogo and guard Tyrese Martin have been the second and third leading scorers on UConn this season, but both will not be playing due to injury. Huggins said he is not going to change his game plan based on personal, but rather wants to try and focus on his own team.
“Im worried more about us than anything. We’re struggling, [I’m] trying to get us fixed,” Huggins said. “I have many concerns; hard to sit here and put them in order… Trying to get them to get throw it to the team that has the same color shirt they have on, they’re struggling with that, they’re throwing the ball around. Turnovers, we don’t rebound it. Other than a couple guys we haven’t made shots, we haven’t made free throws.”
On the season, West Virginia is shooting 45.3% from the field and have made 30.2% of their three-point shots. The Mountaineers rank 286th in the country in three-point shooting, and Huggins has called into question some of the older players effort.
“I don’t know why it hasn’t been that way,” Huggins said on his team’s lack of intensity in recent games. “It’s always been that way. You can’t blame it all on the portal, you can’t blame it all on incoming guys. We’ve got a core of older guys that should be better, certainly should play a heck of a lot harder.”
While UConn deals with injuries, West Virginia is dealing with an injury of their own. Fifth year guard Sean McNeil missed last Saturday’s game against Radford with a sore back, and on Tuesday, Huggins said McNeil is still day-to-day and he does not know of his status before tonight’s game. Without McNeil, West Virginia shot 25% from three-point range, with guard Taz Sherman making two three-pointers which led the Mountaineers.
Both teams will be looking to rely on their bench, as UConn is without Sonogo and Martin, and West Virginia played 14 guys in their win over Radford.
The Mountaineers and Huskies are set to tipoff at 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography