With the Mountaineers coming off a two game winning streak, Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma will provide another true test. The Sooners who come in 17-5, and 6-3 in the Big 12, are a new opponent this year and coming off a loss at Iowa State on Saturday.
Huggins says there is plenty of film to watch to learn about Oklahoma.
WVU has yet to play the Sooners this year but Coach Huggins believes there will be no problem with familiarity on Wednesday, “You know who they’re playing; you know what the people they’re playing are trying to do. There’s so much film available, so you watch film, you look at patterns, look at what they do consistently, what they don’t do consistently, what they do well , what they don’t do well.”
According to Huggins, what Oklahoma does well revolve around their three starting sophomores, Isaiah Cousins, Buddy Hield, and Ryan Spangler.
“Those three sophomore guards are playing really well for them. Spangler makes a huge difference; he’s the best rebounder in our league, maybe the country,” said Huggins.
Ryan Spangler, a 6-8 sophomore, is averaging 11.1 points per game, and 10.2 rebounds per game. He has made his presence felt all year around the Big 12, and should create a matchup problem against the Mountaineers. WVU has struggled all year containing a strong inside player, so freshmen Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins will have their work cut out.
Huggins spoke about why he has gone to the new spread attack, “We did that to get all that help out of the way. If you watched them play (Kansas State) they run to help so much, and we needed to get some easy baskets, so we had to take the help away.”
Taking away the opponents help has paid dividends for one player in particular; junior point guard, Juwan Staten. Coming off his best game of the year scoring 35 against Kansas State, Staten was named the Big 12’s player of the week.
“It means you had a heck of a week huh; I mean we finally won two in a row so I mean he’s been deserving before, but when you done win they don’t generally give that award to people on losing teams,” said Huggins about his point guard.
Not only has the spread offense given Staten more looks but Huggins spoke about the team gaining more shot attempts each game, “We’re shooting it a lot faster then what we’ve shot it, and so we’re scoring more points, but so are our opponents. Numbers come with the territory. It comes down to how many points per possession, more than what the final score is.”
For this young team a two game winning streak can be a lot to handle coming into another big home game, but Huggins believes his team is staying on task, “I think they’ve been fine. We had a pretty good practice yesterday, it wasn’t great, but this time of the year I don’t know you don’t have the same kind of practice you have early on. I think we got done what we need to get done.”