West Virginia will host one of the nation's best teams on Monday when No.3 Kansas comes to town.
That's bad news for the Mountaineers (9-10, 2-4) who have lost four of their last five games and have lost all three games they've played against ranked teams this season. Not to mention the fact that West Virginia's two conference wins have come against teams that are a combined 1-12 in conference games.
Despite all of that, WVU had a chance to get back to .500 in conference play with a win over Oklahoma State on Saturday. It was a great start for the Mountaineers, jumping out to a 24-11 lead, but they fell apart from there and lost by 14. That is becoming a bit of a habit for this team. To beat Kansas (18-1, 6-0), it's going to take a full 40-minute effort, and that will have to be a nearly perfect effort.
The Jayhawks haven't lost since their second game of the season and are 4-0 in road games. They're also in the top half of the Big 12 in almost every statistical category. The one area that should be most troubling to West Virginia is that Kansas leads the conference in field goal percentage defense. The Mountaineers, who shoot 39.4 percent from the field, are last in the conference and rank 319th in all of college basketball.
Kansas actually hasn't been scoring all that much in conference games, but there is still star power on this team. Ben McLemore leads the team with 16.2 points, and Travis Releford puts up 12.7. Jeff Withey averages 13, but he's more well-known for what he does on the defensive end. Withey ranks second in the nation with 4.3 blocks per game and will provide a huge challenge for West Virginia inside.
If the Mountaineers are looking for any good news, Kansas hasn't scored 70 points since its overtime win against Iowa State. Of course, the Jayhawks are making it very difficult for their opposition to find points. West Virginia is also the league's leader in offensive rebounds, while Kansas ranks last in the Big 12 in that category.
A lot of offensive rebounds means a lot of missed shots, though, and that has certainly been the case. West Virginia doesn't have a single player averaging double digits. Aaric Murray and Juwan Staten lead the way with 9.6 points each, while Terry Henderson adds eight. Murray also leads in rebounding with 6.7.
This will be the first time these two schools have ever met. Similar to the Baylor football game, WVU is asking fans to "Stripe the Coliseum" for the game. ESPN will televise it as part of the network's Big Monday series. Tip-off will be at 9 pm.