"That's what we want to do," Staten confirmed of the first two items on the list of many improvements the Mountaineers might make in the Big 12 championship. "We need to play great defense and then rebound the ball so we can go down and get a good shot"
Although Staten has struggled mightily with his long-range shooting game this year, he has actually been playing rather well in other areas down the stretch. He tops the 2-1 assist to turnover ratio, and considering WVU's shooting percentage this year, has likely missed on more than the normal number of assist chances that are lost due to teammates' failure to convert. He's also showing a bit more confidence in his mid-range jumper, and has hit a handful of those over the past couple of games.
For Staten and the Mountaineers to advance, they must repeat the good things they did in this year's earlier victories over Texas Tech, and also be prepared for any counters the Red Raiders have in store. They wend through two different practice sessions on Tuesday. Rest, video and scouting report reviews are on tap for Wednesday before the game this evening.
Deniz Kilicli, like many of his teammates, appeared to be weary of the rehashing of a season's full of shortcomings. He noted the importance of not looking back at previous performances, whether good or bad, and of putting everything on the line no matter who the opponent is. That follows the "we're 0-0" mantra that has been pushed as the theme for the Big 12 Championships.
Kilicli admitted that WVU would be able to make more mistakes and beat a team like Texas Tech as opposed to one like Kansas, but emphasized that West Virginia's previous play, or how it has performed recently, shouldn't affect it in this week's games.
"People come up with stats [showing] how you did over the last nine games or whatever, but that's not important. You just go out there and play," he said. "That's all it is."