The Baylor Bears have their first matchup with the highly lauded West Virginia Mountaineers on the road in Morgantown Saturday afternoon. Baylor beat TCU on Wednesday, 77-57 to get to 5-4 in Big 12 play and above .500 in conference for the first time season. The Bears look to build off of two straight 20+ point victories against Bob Huggins’ upstart squad.
|No. 19 Baylor (17-5, 5-4) vs. WVU (18-4, 6-3)|
|Date||Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015| 11:00 a.m. CT|
|Location||Morgantown, WV. WVU Coliseum (14,000)|
|Radio||ESPN Central Texas|
|Online Audio||Listen Online|
Fun Stats of the Game, courtesy of BaylorBears.com
- Baylor leads the all-time series 4-1, including a 2-0 mark in Morgantown.
- Baylor and Oklahoma State are the only teams to win in Morgantown in each of the last two seasons.
- Baylor is 1 of 9 Division I teams to hold all opponents under 75 points this season.
Keys to the Game
1. Move the ball - Much of the success for the Mountaineers this season has come on hard, constant, and consistently good pressure from the moment the ball is inbounded. The Bears will need excellent guard play from Kenny Chery and Lester Medford, both of which have been playing exceptionally well as of late, in order to beat this press. Chery and Medford will need to use their quickness to prevent West Virginia from properly setting up its press; and Chery must continue to impress with his ball handling skills to knock the ‘Neers off balance. Huggins also likes to throw traps into his defensive scheme, making it vital that all Bears on the offensive end be aware of their surroundings and know where the open man is.
2. Limit Staten - He may not have been well-known at the start of last season, Juwan Staten took the Big 12 by storm his junior year and immediately became a household name for college basketball fans. After earning All-Big 12 First Team and Defensive Team honors last year, Staten was honored with Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year. While Staten’s offensive production has taken a bit of a hit, he is still the heart of the Mountaineer offense, averaging 14.8 ppg on a very efficient 41.3% FG percentage. On top of that, Staten has refined his long-range jumper and has more confidence in this three-point shot. While he may not shoot from deep often, he is hitting almost 36% of his attempts.
3. Capitalize on Second Chance Points - A good portion of the Bears’ offense comes from offensive put backs, kick outs, and the overall second chance points game. Baylor fans are now familiar, post-OSU, with how the offensive production of this team falters when second-chance opportunities are not converted into points. Thankfully, that OSU game (and its poor shooting performance) remain an anomaly on the Bears’ overall record, with Rico Gathers leading the third best offensive rebounding unit in the nation (16.0 orbg) and the fifth best overall rebounding squad (41.2 rbg). The growth of Gathers’ and Motleys’ post production over the last few games has been apparent, with Gathers becoming more comfortable with his back to the basket and Motley refining his shot selection and aggressiveness. If the Bears can continue its incredibly output off of o-boards, the defense of WVU will have to adjust and collapse, freeing up our outside shooters, who have been extremely hot as of late.
What Happened Last Time?
The Bears took revenge on West Virginia (88-75) in the second-meeting of the 2013-14 season when they visited Morgantown.