BGN Podcast: WVU hosts LSU

West Virginia will host its first marquee opponent of the season tonight at the Coliseum with a showdown against LSU.

The No. 16 Mountaineers will be put to the test against an LSU team that is coming off an impressive victory over UMass at home two days ago. Less than 48 hours, that Tiger team that has five players averaging 30 or more minutes per game will be in Morgantown to face a West Virginia team that has had a good bit of its success thanks to its ability to pressure teams and wear down its opponents.

We talk about that, and quite a bit more, on this week's BGN Podcast.


  • The Mountaineers will get small forward BillyDee Williams back and he could have his WVU debut tonight. The junior college transfer has missed West Virginia's first seven games of the season due to a fractured orbital bone that he suffered in practice the day before the Mountaineers' season opener against Monmouth.

    A true wing player, Williams will continue to bolster WVU's depth and give the Mountaineers another good athlete who can get to the rim with ease and shoot it well from the perimeter.

    "He's been a great shooter from day one. I haven't really seen him miss that many shots since he's been here," said senior point guard Juwan Staten. "He's eager, he's been jumping in every drill when he can. He's doing his work on the side to get in shape and he definitely looks like he's ready to play."

    So far the Mountaineers have had plenty of depth, using as many as 11 players in its rotation throughout these early games, but Williams brings some more much-needed size into the mix that West Virginia will likely need. Sophomore big man Brandon Watkins is still out with an illness, and Mike Casazza of The Charleston Daily Mail reported Wednesday that Watkins has lost 27 pounds since getting sick.

    "It would do a lot for us," Staten said of the Mountaineers eventually getting back to full health. "We've been able to change lineups and do a lot while missing two key players, but I think when you add them, Brandon will bring some experience and BillyDee brings great shooting, and those are two aspects you need to have."

  • West Virginia has had more success defensively than it has had in a long time, and a good piece of that is the relentless full-court pressure that the Mountaineers use throughout every game.

    The Mountaineers currently press more than any other team in college basketball and have six players ranked in the top 11 in the Big 12 in steals.

    A big reason WVU has been able to do that has been because of the lengthy Jonathan Holton playing up top in the press.

    "He's active. He gets a lot of deflections and is a hard target to see over," Staten said. "He's very energetic and that gets us going too. That's something that people may not be able to tell, but when Jon gets going at the top of that press, it gets us going."

  • There has already been a tough test for the West Virginia guards this season, squaring off with Ryan Boatright and UConn in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, but tonight's matchup will be the first time the Mountaineer frontcourt has been tested against a group of good bigs.

    LSU comes into the game with two forwards leading its attack. Sophomore forwards Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin have been a solid combo in the post for the Tigers, combining to average 33.4 points and 18.7 rebounds per game. They will provide quite a test for Holton, Devin Williams and Elijah Macon and Nathan Adrian down low and it will be important for the Mountaineers to attack the LSU big men without getting into foul trouble themselves.

    "It's going to be a challenge for us, but we've just got to be willing to accept the challenge and that's what I'm willing to do," Williams said.

    "You've just got to make shots. Everything just tends to work out if you focus on doing what you can do instead of what you can't. You just have to play hard and play like a team."

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