MEN'S BB: Sooners Face Dangerous Squad in WVU

The Oklahoma Sooners face a tough task on Saturday when they take on West Virginia in men's basketball. One reason is the Mountaineers' ability to shoot the ball. The other is on the bench in the form of first-year coach Bob Huggins, who has the team rolling. Look inside for more on the Sooners' next opponent.

Although Oklahoma has been impressive in its previous two outings – quality wins over Arkansas and Gonzaga – the Sooners will have their backs to the wall on Saturday night.

Oklahoma (9-3) travels to Charleston, W.V., to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers (10-1) at the Charleston Civic Center. This will be Oklahoma's stiffest challenge since a 66-55 loss at Southern California on Nov. 29.

Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2.

What makes this a tough contest for the Sooners? Consider the Mountaineers, ranked 23rd in the country, have won eight straight games and are beating foes by an average of 28.9 points a contest.

The Mountaineers have scored at least 70 points in each of their 11 games, have topped 80 points seven times and the century mark twice. They average 86.1 points a game, ranking them in the top 10 in the nation.

And how do they score so many points? Good shooting. WVU is one of the best shooting teams in the country with its .507 mark from the field and .409 average from beyond the arc. The Moutaineers on average make 9.5 3-pointers a game.

The biggest threat is junior guard Alex Ruoff (6-6, 215). He averages a team-high 16 points and shoots .570 from the field and .487 (37-for-76) from 3-point range.

Sophomore forward Da'Sean Butler (6-7, 225) is another potent outside threat as he's knocked down 11-of-22 (.500) treys and averages 12.8 points and 5.2 boards.

Forward Joe Alexander (6-8, 230) and guard Darris Nichols (6-3, 200) contribute 15.5 and 11.1 points, respectively. Alexander also pulls down a team-high 6.7 boards and outing and is an outstanding free-throw shooter, making 40-of-45 this season. Nichols leads the team with 3.5 assists a game.

All this despite a coaching change, but then again, it's not at all unexpected. The Mountaineers are under the tutelage of Bob Huggins, who shunned Kansas State after only one season to take over. Huggins, in his 26th season overall, is best known for his success and downfall at Cincinnati. However, Huggins wins, as is evident by his 600-212 (.739) record.

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