WVU Gets Big 12 Preview At Old Spice Classic - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Gets Big 12 Preview At Old Spice Classic

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ORLANDO, Fla. -

The West Virginia Mountaineers knew before leaving for the Old Spice Classic that Sunday's game would likely be one they wanted for some time. Chances are it would feature either a rematch against Gonzaga or a shot at a Big 12 opponent in a non-conference setting.

Truth be told, the players were talking about a potential rematch with Gonzaga after blowing out Marist on Thursday. However, that is not the game they are going to play later today.

A 63-60 loss to Davidson in the Old Spice Classic semifinals cost the Mountaineers that rematch. Gonzaga beat Oklahoma in the other semifinal sending the Sooners to the consolation game against the Mountaineers.

That creates a whole different set of storylines. WVU and Oklahoma will not play three times this season. They will meet today, January 5 in Morgantown and March 6 in Norman.

While these are a pair of teams from the same conference, this counts as a non-conference game. This will not affect their conference records.

These two teams already have one thing in common. They both got blown out by Gonzaga this season. WVU lost 84-50 while Oklahoma suffered a 72-47 defeat.

West Virginia's loss to Davidson was mostly due to a scoring drought to begin the second half. Davidson opened that half on a 9-0 run quickly erasing West Virginia's 32-30 lead at the break. WVU got down by as many as 11 points with less than nine minutes remaining in the game, but overcame that to reach a point where it had a chance to tie at the buzzer.

WVU had other problems that led to the loss. The Mountaineers shot just 47 percent from the free throw line.

West Virginia's bigs, Aaric Murray, Deniz Kilicli and Kevin Noreen all found themselves in foul trouble throughout most of the second half. Murray eventually fouled out with about two minutes remaining in the game.

Bob Huggins will have more depth at the big position against Oklahoma with the return of Dom Rutledge. He has missed the Mountaineers first three games of the season for an undisclosed reason. Huggins said following the loss to Davidson that Rutledge will be back in the lineup today.

Make no mistake, this is a big game for the Mountaineers. WVU sits at 1-2 overall. A win over Oklahoma sends the Mountaineers home at 2-2 with an early good feeling about one of its Big 12 opponents. A loss is a different story. WVU would return to Morgantown at 1-3 overall with even more problems than Huggins predicted early in the season.

West Virginia will meet Oklahoma at 4:30 pm. The game will be televised by ESPNU.

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