After a rough loss to No. 3 Michigan in New York City over the weekend, West Virginia returns home in hopes of rebounding tonight against Oakland (4-7) in the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (4-5) are below .500 with only three games left before Big 12 Conference play. It's imperative that they win those three contests to head into the new year with momentum, and it all starts with the Golden Grizzlies tonight.
Here's a brief preview outlining the three keys for a Mountaineer victory.
1. Push the tempo - I mentioned this strategy for the Michigan game and the team made a couple small runs when the game turned helter-skelter. Oakland has similar depth issues as the Wolverines, with three starters playing over 33 minutes a game and a fourth just under 30. After those four, there's a big drop off.
2. Defend the guards - The Golden Grizzlies have a decent center in Corey Petros (14.4 points, 6.9 rebounds), but most of their damage on offense comes from a pair of rangy guards - Duke Mondy and Travis Bader. Bader leads the team in scoring, averaging 19.6 points per game. He's quick with the dribble and loves to pull up and shoot the deep ball (shooting 39% and averaging 10 attempts per game!). Mondy does not shoot from beyond the arc nearly as often, but does have a decent stroke, scoring 13.1 points a game.
3. Find players that will put forth the effort - The smoothest stroke and the highest leap will only get you so far. Bob Huggins has blasted his team for a lack of effort and focus, and I expect the team to react tonight - big time. Look for players to grab all the loose balls, fight for every rebound and play some tenacious defense. Everyone is going to try to prove they deserve to be out there.
For those in attendance and those watching at home, come join us to talk about the game and make your predictions in our official game thread.