Preview: WVU - TCU

WVU may look to a depth advantage as it tries to get the Big 12 season off to a winning start on Saturday versus TCU.

SCOUTING THE HORNED FROGS

TCU matched its number of non-conference wins from a year ago in compiling its 9-3 record, but the quality of opposition hasn't been as good as what West Virginia has faced overall. The Frogs do own decent road wins over Washington State and Mississippi State, though, and appear to be playing better than they did a year ago.

One of the ways in which TCU has improved is balance. It has four starters averaging double figures in scoring, and although it isn't getting great support off the bench, its starting cast is good enough to keep defenses spread over the floor. Local product Kyan Anderson (Jr., G, 5-11) is similar to WVU's Juwan Staten in that he's both a scoring and a distribution threat. He averages a team best 16.5 points per game and passes out 5.3 assists per contest. Running mate Brandon Parrish (Fr., G, 6-6) provides some match-up problems with his height, and contributes 10.3 points per game.

Up front, the forward duo of Jarvis Ray (Sr., F, 6-6) and Amric Fields (Jr., F, 6-9) likewise form a potent scoring combination. Ray averages 11.6 points per outing, while Fields, who played just three games a year ago, and has missed seven contests this year, is making up for his absence with a vengeance. He's tallying 13.6 points per game and is getting on the boards, grabbing 6.2 in just 23 minutes per outing. In the four games this year where Fields has played 20 minutes or more, he is averaging 16.5 points, and TCU is 4-0 in those contests.

Center Karviar Shepherd has provided the Frogs with a solid inside game that it didn't have a year ago. The 6-10 freshman center is averaging 8.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

Production drops off considerably among the subs. While five players average ten or more minutes per game, they combine for just 18 points per outing, and none excel much in any statistical area. Charles Hill (So., G, 6-2) tosses in almost six points per game, while Christian Gore (So., G, 6-2) contributes 5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per appearance.


OUTLOOK

To get this much-needed win on the road, WVU's bench will have to press its advantage over the TCU reserves.

BlueGoldNews.com
Game Info
Sat 1/4
4:00 PM E

Daniel-Meyer Coliseum
Fort Worth, Tex.
Records
WVU 8-5, 0-0
TCU 9-3, 0-0
Series
WVU 2-0
TV
Big 12 Network
Sirius/XM: 119/192
RPI
WVU - 118
TCU - 153
WVU head coach Bob Huggins has never been 100% in favor of starting his five most productive players. He prefers to have some firepower coming off the bench, whether offensive or defensive, so as to have a more consistent team on the floor throughout the game. That also allows thee veteran coach to take advantage of potential mismatches or talent gaps between the reserves. Injuries and some excruciating play have forced Huggins to juggle his starting lineup some over the past few games, but whichever Mountaineers come off the bench against the Horned Frogs could be the key to the game. With TCU struggling to get productivity from its backups, this is an area which West Virginia should be able to exploit.

Whether it's Brandon Watkins or Devin Williams in the starting lineup, or Remi Dibo or Nathan Adrian, WVU will have players coming off the bench that can be productive, both in scoring and rebounding. Add in Gary Browne, who can ratchet up defensive intensity while providing his own scoring punch, and WVU has the edge here -- something that it won't have in many Big 12 contests. This is the time for the Mountaineers to break out with productivity up and down the lineup.

Doing this on the road won't be easy, though. While this Saturday-Monday road swing with WVU's students still on break is a good thing from almost all angles, it does put pressure on the Mountaineers to win quickly away from the Coliseum. Had WVU gotten a win over Virginia Tech, Wisconsin or Missouri earlier this year, it might be a bit more confident going into what is the first of many crucial games in the league. TCU is improved over last year, but if West Virginia is to be a postseason team, this is a game it must win.

FAST BREAKS

Assuming Devin Williams' back issues are corrected, the battle between he and Shepherd figures to be a key one. Both freshmen have been quite precocious this year, and both have shown the ability to rebound on both ends of the floor. The player who can come out on top in this match-up, especially in the rebounding battle, will give his team an excellent chance to win.

* * *

Williams is averaging 7.77 rebounds per game this year -- the fourth-best ever mark for a freshman at WVU. Devin Ebanks averaged 7.8 and Willie Begines 9.23, but none matched Wonderful Warren Baker's 11.16 mark as a beanie-wearer in 1973.

* * *

TCU has three transfers sitting out their year of ineligibility in 2013-14, including Pitt departee Trey Zeigler. It also lost forward Devonta Abron to a season-ending injury during the team's summer trip to Canada.

* * *

TCU played five consecutive games away from home, including three at the Great Alaska Shootout, before returning home to begin a six-game stretch on campus.

* * *

Getting off to a good start has been vital to the Frogs under head coach Trent Johnson. TCU is 7-0 this year, and 15-1 overall, when leading after the first 20 minutes.

* * *

WVU has been much more efficient per possession this year, scoring 1.17 points every time it touches the ball. That's good for 21st in the nation, and dwarfs TCU's 1.03 mark (287th nationally).


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TCU matched its number of non-conference wins from a year ago in compiling its 9-3 record, but the quality of opposition hasn't been as good as what West Virginia has faced overall. The Frogs do own decent road wins over Washington State and Mississippi State, though, and appear to be playing better than they did a year ago.

One of the ways in which TCU has improved is balance. It has four starters averaging double figures in scoring, and although it isn't getting great support off the bench, its starting cast is good enough to keep defenses spread over the floor. Local product Kyan Anderson (Jr., G, 5-11) is similar to WVU's Juwan Staten in that he's both a scoring and a distribution threat. He averages a team best 16.5 points per game and passes out 5.3 assists per contest. Running mate Brandon Parrish (Fr., G, 6-6) provides some match-up problems with his height, and contributes 10.3 points per game.

Up front, the forward duo of Jarvis Ray (Sr., F, 6-6) and Amric Fields (Jr., F, 6-9) likewise form a potent scoring combination. Ray averages 11.6 points per outing, while Fields, who played just three games a year ago, and has missed seven contests this year, is making up for his absence with a vengeance. He's tallying 13.6 points per game and is getting on the boards, grabbing 6.2 in just 23 minutes per outing. In the four games this year where Fields has played 20 minutes or more, he is averaging 16.5 points, and TCU is 4-0 in those contests.

Center Karviar Shepherd has provided the Frogs with a solid inside game that it didn't have a year ago. The 6-10 freshman center is averaging 8.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

Production drops off considerably among the subs. While five players average ten or more minutes per game, they combine for just 18 points per outing, and none excel much in any statistical area. Charles Hill (So., G, 6-2) tosses in almost six points per game, while Christian Gore (So., G, 6-2) contributes 5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per appearance.

To get this much-needed win on the road, WVU's bench will have to press its advantage over the TCU reserves.

WVU head coach Bob Huggins has never been 100% in favor of starting his five most productive players. He prefers to have some firepower coming off the bench, whether offensive or defensive, so as to have a more consistent team on the floor throughout the game. That also allows thee veteran coach to take advantage of potential mismatches or talent gaps between the reserves. Injuries and some excruciating play have forced Huggins to juggle his starting lineup some over the past few games, but whichever Mountaineers come off the bench against the Horned Frogs could be the key to the game. With TCU struggling to get productivity from its backups, this is an area which West Virginia should be able to exploit.

Whether it's Brandon Watkins or Devin Williams in the starting lineup, or Remi Dibo or Nathan Adrian, WVU will have players coming off the bench that can be productive, both in scoring and rebounding. Add in Gary Browne, who can ratchet up defensive intensity while providing his own scoring punch, and WVU has the edge here -- something that it won't have in many Big 12 contests. This is the time for the Mountaineers to break out with productivity up and down the lineup.

Doing this on the road won't be easy, though. While this Saturday-Monday road swing with WVU's students still on break is a good thing from almost all angles, it does put pressure on the Mountaineers to win quickly away from the Coliseum. Had WVU gotten a win over Virginia Tech, Wisconsin or Missouri earlier this year, it might be a bit more confident going into what is the first of many crucial games in the league. TCU is improved over last year, but if West Virginia is to be a postseason team, this is a game it must win.

Assuming Devin Williams' back issues are corrected, the battle between he and Shepherd figures to be a key one. Both freshmen have been quite precocious this year, and both have shown the ability to rebound on both ends of the floor. The player who can come out on top in this match-up, especially in the rebounding battle, will give his team an excellent chance to win.

* * *

Williams is averaging 7.77 rebounds per game this year -- the fourth-best ever mark for a freshman at WVU. Devin Ebanks averaged 7.8 and Willie Begines 9.23, but none matched Wonderful Warren Baker's 11.16 mark as a beanie-wearer in 1973.

* * *

TCU has three transfers sitting out their year of ineligibility in 2013-14, including Pitt departee Trey Zeigler. It also lost forward Devonta Abron to a season-ending injury during the team's summer trip to Canada.

* * *

TCU played five consecutive games away from home, including three at the Great Alaska Shootout, before returning home to begin a six-game stretch on campus.

* * *

Getting off to a good start has been vital to the Frogs under head coach Trent Johnson. TCU is 7-0 this year, and 15-1 overall, when leading after the first 20 minutes.

* * *

WVU has been much more efficient per possession this year, scoring 1.17 points every time it touches the ball. That's good for 21st in the nation, and dwarfs TCU's 1.03 mark (287th nationally).

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