The West Virginia Mountaineers will look to earn their first Big 12 win on Wednesday night when they visit Texas in Austin.
WVU (7-6, 0-1) had a chance to get that first win on Saturday against Oklahoma, but blew a 14-point second half lead and fell by ten. These late-game meltdowns have been plaguing the Mountaineers lately, and there will have to be a change if they hope to beat the Longhorns (8-6, 0-1) on the road.
Texas is 6-1 at home, while West Virginia has lost the only two road games it's played this season. The Longhorns also lost their conference opener, though, falling to Baylor in overtime on Saturday.For two teams that each have six losses so early in the season, this game is a must-win.
To be fair, the Texas losses have come to some pretty good teams. Chaminade is the only team from a non-power league that the Longhorns have lost to, and while losing to a Division II school is never good, this isn't the first time that Chaminade has pulled a major upset during the Maui Invitational.
West Virginia has also lost to some pretty good teams, but there are also the losses to Davidson, Duquesne, and Oklahoma. The Mountaineers simply don't have very many losses to give, and losing to a six-loss Texas team certainly won't help the tournament résumé.
Out-rebounding the opponent seems to be one of the keys for WVU. In games in which they've done that, the Mountaineers are 6-2. After Saturday's loss, they are just 1-4 when being out-rebounded. Texas, however, averages two more rebounds per game than West Virginia.
It's been rare for the Mountaineers to beat opponents with shooting from the field. After another poor performance against the Sooners, their shooting percentage has dropped to 39.7 on the season. That ranks 303rd among Division I schools. Texas hasn't been much better at 40.6 percent.
Juwan Staten and Aaric Murray, West Virginia's two additions via transfer, have been the most consistent-shooting starters so far this season. Staten leads the team with eleven points and Murray adds 10.5, but they are the only two players to put up double digits. Murray also leads the way with 7.5 rebounds.
Sheldon McClellan leads Texas with 15.6 points per game, while Julien Lewis puts up 11.8. Lewis does have a higher shooting percentage from beyond the arc than three West Virginia players have overall, though.
This will be the first time these two teams have played since the 2006 NCAA Tournament when Texas won on a three-pointer at the buzzer to advance to the Elite Eight. Texas leads the overall series, 2-1. This will be the first time the two have met as conference opponents.
The game will tip at 9 pm and will be televised by ESPN2.