The Kansas State Wildcats (13-4, 3-1) will play their second home game in a row when they face the West Virginia Mountaineers (10-7, 2-2). Bruce Weber and K-State are coming off a great win over #25 Oklahoma, while West Virginia has lost their last two games against #11 Oklahoma State and Texas. Fans in Bramlage will be familiar with Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins after his short stay in Manhattan during the ’06-07 season. Not many will forget that purple suit, or the man that inspired a shirt burning.
Here is all the information you need to catch the game:
Who: West Virginia Mountaineers (Big 12 Conference)
West Virginia had a tough first season in the Big 12, going just 6-12 in the conference and finishing 7th. Coach Bob Huggins has said that this is in part because they had to get used to a new style of play and officiating, and though they are expecting to do better this season they’ll have to do so with an almost entirely new frontcourt after losing all their big men besides Kevin Noreen. Huggins’ recruiting class was made up of six players at 6’7 and taller and he’ll be hoping players like former Rhode Island player Jonathan Holton, who had to leave due to legal troubles, and company can fill the void left by Denis Kilicli on the inside.
Keys to the Game:
1: Guard play: The Mountaineers depend heavily on their three main guards, Eron Harris, Juwan Staten (both averaging 17.4 PPG), and Terry Henderson. K-State’s guards are very good on defense and have consistently shown they can lock down scorers this season. Will Spradling, Jevon Thomas, Marcus Foster will all need to be at their best when on Harris and Staten to keep another offense that has the edge on K-State’s below their scoring average.
2. Shane Southwell: Southwell’s skill set and size should prove to be a nightmare for West Virginia. The Mountaineers’ main guards are all at least 3 inches shorter than Southwell, and if they try to play one of their less experience forwards on him he can quickly heat up from outside or take them on the dribble. If Southwell can force the Mountaineers into defensive mismatches he could have a big game.
3. Thomas Gipson: Gipson only played 16 minutes and provided just 4 points in the game against Oklahoma, largely due to foul trouble. He has to do a better job of staying out of foul trouble and asserting dominance in the post. The Sooners’ Ryan Spangler had a breakout game and kept his team in it even though their star, Cameron Clark, was shut down. Nino Williams and D.J. Johnson have both shown at times this season they have the ability to play really well, but K-State can’t depend on them so often. This game against the inexperience Mountaineers frontcourt should be just what Gipson needs to get his play back on track.
Where: Bramlage Coliseum
When: 12:30 PM CT
Saturday, January 18th
Television: Big 12 Network
Radio: K-State Sports Network