A Quick Turnaround

It's been less than 48 hours since West Virginia walked off the floor with a 14-point loss to Kansas Saturday, and it's ready and preparing for a showdown against another tough test in No. 16 Iowa State.

During Monday's Big 12 Coaches teleconference, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins went into more detail about the difficulty the teams have when facing a turnaround like that, especially when part of that short time involves traveling.

The Cyclones are coming off an 84-69 win in Ames, Iowa, against TCU but then had to travel into Morgantown. WVU's travel consisted of a quick flight back to Morgantown from Lawrence, Kansas, following Saturday's loss to the Jayhawks.

"Saturday, Mondays are tough on everybody. Let's be honest, you don't have a lot of prep time and you can't really do a whole lot - especially when you're traveling," Huggins said on the conference call. "That's the way it ought to be though (when both have to travel during a turnaround this quick), it's fair for both teams. There's just not a lot you can do.

"I've got a bunch of guys that like basketball and they've watched Iowa State a bunch."

The Cyclones have continued to improve in Fred Hoiberg's fourth season leading the resurgence of the program, currently sitting at 18-4 on the season with a 6-4 record in Big 12 Conference play.

Iowa State has seven players averaging at least 19 minutes per game, with four of those scoring in double figures. Among the handful of consistent players on the ISU roster, senior point guard DeAndre Kane has arguably been the one to garner the most attention so far this season.

The Marshall transfer who averages 16.7 points and 3.3 assists per game in his career against WVU is having the best season of his career, averaging 16 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game for Iowa State. But, heading into Monday's contest, it is another Cyclone who is receiving plenty of well-deserved praise and attention and is sure to cause the Mountaineers some fits.

Senior forward Melvin Ejim continued his recent hot streak with a record-setting performance against TCU Saturday. The 6-foot-6 power forward scored 48 points and pulled down 18 rebounds in the win, while shooting an amazingly efficient 20-of-24 from the field.

In his last five games, Ejim - who led the Big 12 in rebounding and double-doubles a season ago - is averaging 26 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.

"What an unbelievable day," Huggins said of Ejim's performance against TCU. "I can't remember anybody going 20-of-24.

"They're good. Freddy does an unbelievable job ... They play with such confidence. They pass the ball better than anybody in the country."

Mountaineers Daily Top Stories