West Virginia (8-8, 1-3) is coming off a pair of heart-wrenching last minute losses in Big 12 play, but must now travel to Purdue (9-8, 3-2) for a mid-season non-conference matchup. The Boilermakers have had one of the roughest schedules in the country, having already played four Top 25 teams with seven more on the docket. Both are badly in need of a win to bolster their postseason chances.
The game is set to be shown to a national audience on CBS at 2:00PM ET.
Here are three keys to a Mountaineer victory today.
1. Rebound Like Your Hair is On Fire - To borrow a phrase, if you will. Purdue misses almost as many shots as West Virginia. The Boilermakers rank 233rd in field goal percentage (41.9%) and the Mountaineers are 313th at 39.7%. Naturally, Purdue also gets their fair share of rebounds, ranking 15th in the nation in rebounds per game. I picture a lot of "bricks" this afternoon and a lot of battles on the glass.
2. Stay Grounded Like Your Shoes are Filled With Cement - I repeat: Purdue is not a very good shooting team. West Virginia - the guards in particular - need to close out on the perimeter in a controlled fashioned. Running out and jumping at potential shooters is silly. WVU would be much better off with Purdue taking long-range jumpers than shot-faking and going to the basket. They don't shoot a lot of three-pointers as it is, with D.J. Byrd the only real threat from deep (109 attempts, 34.9%)
3. Shoot Like You're Down Double Digits in a Conference Game - The last two road games for West Virginia, they have fallen way behind before catching fire from deep. Against Texas, they were down ten with 3:35 left before making their last five shots, including all three from beyond the arc. Against Iowa State, WVU fell behind by 17 before they made nine of their last twelve three point attempts. If the Mountaineers could muster just half of that efficiency, they would not only be on their way to the NCAA Tournament, but they would blow out Purdue.
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!