WVU 'More Prepared' to Take on KU

When West Virginia takes the floor in Allen Fieldhouse today, it will be back in the place where the wheels fell off quickly in a 91-65 loss to Kansas.

A 14-point deficit at the break quickly spiraled out of control as the Jayhawks had their way with the Mountaineers to run away with the easy victory. But this year, West Virginia enters the showdown on a three-game winning streak and playing better basketball than it has played since entering the Big 12 Conference - and it's looking to put on a much better show against KU the second time around in Lawrence.

"We have to control the game as best as we possibly can and try to manage the game, don't give them runout dunks and try to keep it manageable," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins on his teleconference Friday. "I think we're more prepared."

There is no quick answer when it comes to exactly where to go first when trying to stop the Jayhawks. No matter where you look, there will be elite-level talent on that side of the floor.

Kansas has four players currently averaging double figures, including freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid who are expected to be two of the first names called in this year's NBA draft, and have former McDonald's all-Americans at several spots on the floor. And as if the talent on the floor wasn't enough for Huggins to have to try to figure out, KU head coach Bill Self is one of the best coaches in college basketball.

"(They've got) probably the No. 1 pick, the No. 2 pick and the other guy on the front line was a McDonald's all-American," Huggins said. "They're really talented and, I think, the other part is that Bill can coach. You're talking about a guy who will end up in the Hall of Fame.

"When you look at it, what are their weaknesses? It's not like you're going to outcoach the guy on the other bench and they've got really good players, a lot of them."

WVU is a big underdog heading into Saturday's game, but the players said they like the idea of not being expected to have much of a chance in the game. It's the type of mindset that has benefitted a Mountaineer team that has been on a mission to prove to people that last year's disappointing season was a fluke.

"They're going to be athletic. They're going to go at us like they're just going to beat us easy - that's what they'll think," said sophomore guard Eron Harris. "We're not the team people thought we were."

Harris scored 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting in his first trip to KU last season, and has said that he and the other returning players have told the new guys what they should expect when they get there for the game.

"I let them know because I've been through it. That's what you've got to do," Harris said. "You've got to let them know what's up and make them comfortable so they know who's got their back and they know what's coming and how to handle it.

"It's going to be a big crowd. It's going to be packed hours before the game, they're going to be talking trash. But the ball is the same ball, we've played with it before ... Just play, that's my advice."

Much like they've always done, Huggins' team won't be treating the game at a venue like Allen Fieldhouse where the Jayhawks are historically so good be much of a factor. They're going to go into the game with the same type of confidence they would with any other game they would play.

"I asked Al McGuire one time, 'When did you know you guys had arrived at Marquette?' He said, 'When we can walk into any venue without any fear,'" Huggins said. "That's the attitude we had for the time when I was at Cincinnati, and that's the attitude we've had here. We've won more road games than they've won here in years and years. But it's an attitude.

"We've never said let's go get a split on the road like some people do. We're not happy (if that happens). We're going to try to win the game, that's what we do."

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