MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–The 10th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers are on a mission to win the Big 12 championship and the next stop is Austin, Texas, where WVU is looking to avenge a loss to No. 24 Texas.
The Longhorns defeated the Mountaineers 56-49 on Jan. 20 in Morgantown. WVU came out with a lackluster effort and had a poor shooting performance.
Since that loss, the Mountaineers have won 5 of their last six Big 12 games while going 5-2 overall. WVU is tied for first place with No. 2 Kansas.
The Mountaineers are coming off Saturday’s 73-42 blowout over TCU. Senior forward Jonathan Holton returned from a four game suspension against the Horned Frogs.
With Holton in the lineup, WVU’s signature press defense caused lots of problems for TCU. The Mountaineers forced 26 turnovers that led to 26 points. They had 15 steals.
WVU prides itself in having the best 10 men on the court. Senior Jaysean Paige and junior Tarik Phillip are the fearsome duo that come off the bench and often carry the Mountaineers.
Paige averages 14 points and Phillip averages 8.3 points per game.
The last time the two teams battled WVU’s defense didn’t affect Texas. The Mountaineers forced just eight turnovers and the Longhorns beat them at their own game, scoring more points off turnovers.
Texas is coming off an 85-75 loss to Iowa State on Saturday. The Longhorns were outscored 48-34 in the paint.
Prince Ibeh saw limited action due to being in foul trouble. The 6-foot-11 senior has emerged as a key player for Texas in the absence of Cam Ridley.
Javan Felix has seemed to always have the Mountaineers’ number and that was no different last game. The 5-foot-11 guard scored 17 points in the last meeting. He is averaging 11.1 points per game this season.
Isaiah Taylor is the only other active player averaging double figures in scoring with 15.2 points per game.
The Longhorns have been outrebounded by 2.6 per game in Big 12 play and WVU will look to use that to their advantage.
The Mountaineers are ranked first in offensive rebounding percentage (41.5) in Division I basketball. Devin Williams is WVU’s top rebounder and he grabbed 13 boards against TCU.
The 6-foot-9 junior leads the Big 12 with 11 double-doubles. He is averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds over his last five games.
Holton is second on the team in rebounding and grabbed seven boards on Saturday afternoon. The 6-foot-7 senior dominates on the offensive glass, ranking 11th in the nation in offensive rebounds.
The Longhorns are 12-1 at the Erwin Center this season, including posting a 5-0 record against Big 12 teams.
This is the 12th meeting between the Mountaineers and Texas with the Longhorns leading the series 7-4.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. (ET) and can be seen on ESPN2.