Despite all of the struggles West Virginia basketball has suffered this season, and there have been plenty, a game against Oklahoma State on Saturday will give the Mountaineers a chance to get back to .500 in Big 12 play, and above .500 overall.
West Virginia (9-9, 2-3) ended a three-game losing streak on Wednesday night by knocking off TCU. That gave the team its second conference win, but both of those victories came against teams that are winless in the Big 12.
Oklahoma State (12-5, 2-3) will be tougher to beat, but the Cowboys are going through a rough stretch of their own. They spent some time in the top 25 this season, but have now lost four of their last six games. For one of the best defenses in the Big 12, hosting offensively-challenged West Virginia could be a nice break.
And "offensively challenged" is a polite way of describing the Mountaineers this season. They rank 318th in the country with a 39.4 percent shooting percentage and have scored 70 or more points just once in the last six games. The good news is that a lot of those missed shots have resulted in offensive rebounds, as West Virginia leads the conference in that category.
West Virginia does have seven players averaging seven or more points per game, but no player is averaging double digits. Juwan Staten leads the team with 9.9, while Aaric Murray adds 9.5. Murray also leads in rebounding with 6.5. A lot of points come from younger players for the Mountaineers, with five of the top seven scorers being sophomores or freshmen.
The Cowboys also have a younger team, but they have four players averaging at least ten points. Markel Brown leads the way with 14.4 points, and Le'Bryan Nash (13.9) and Marcus Smart (13.2) follow close behind.
These two teams come into this game tied in the conference standings, so the winner will be that much closer to climbing into the top half of the standings.
It will only be the second time the two schools have ever met. The other was in 1958 during the Kentucky Invitational, and West Virginia earned a 67-49 win.
No matter the outcome, Mountaineer fans will be treated with a matchup against a top-ranked team on Monday. Kansas will visit Morgantown for the first time, and has a shot at being ranked in the top two going into that game.
Saturday's game in Oklahoma State will tip at 1 pm and will be televised by ESPNU.