West Virginia (13-13, 6-7) heads into their final five games of the regular season needing to win three to likely keep their postseason hopes alive. Today, the Mountaineers start this dire stretch by taking on Oklahoma State (19-6, 9-4). The Cowboys pulled away late for an 80-66 victory back in January in Stillwater, but WVU hopes the home crowd can help change that.
The game is set for a 2:00PM ET tip and will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and WatchESPN app.
Here are three keys to a Mountaineer victory today.
1. Keep an Even Keel - Back in January, West Virginia held a 24-11 victory with just over five minutes left before halftime. They were utterly dominating the game. Less than two minutes later, the Cowboys had cut the lead to 24-20 and had taken a 30-27 lead by halftime, finishing on a 19-3 run. After the break, the Mountaineers completely fell apart. They will need to stay strong mentally and not let the game slip away if the streaky Cowboys make a run.
2. Defend the Perimeter - During the last matchup, West Virginia did a solid job of slowing down Le'Bryan Nash and Marcus Smart. However, the concentrated entirely on that duo, leaving the perimeter open for Markel Brown and Phil Forte. That pair combined for 10 three-pointers and 50 total points.
3. Protect the Ball - In the last matchup, WVU did a decent job holding onto the ball, only turning it over 11 times. However, the Mountaineers have turned it over an average of 16 times through the last five games. With a team as athletic as the Cowboys, careless turnovers can turn into easy and exciting points - big dunks and fastbreak threes that could take the crowd out of the game.
Whether you're at the game or watching from the comfort of your own home, join your fellow Mountaineer fans in discussing the game below!