In a season that has been full of challenges for the West Virginia University Basketball Team, they may face their toughest Saturday against the No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks at "Phog" Allen Fieldhouse.
The Mountaineers (13-15, 6-9) chances of making a postseason tournament are quickly fading away with just three games remaining on the regular season schedule. They are on a three-game losing streak after falling to Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Baylor. West Virginia is also 0-3 against the teams they have left to play (Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa State).
For Kansas (24-4, 12-3), they are riding a five-game winning streak after hitting the skids for a bit at the beginning of February. This year has been no different for the Jayhawks, as they are still the toast of Big 12 basketball, tied for first place in the Big 12 standings with instate rival Kansas State.
In the meeting earlier this season at the Coliseum, WVU was able to hang with the then-No. 2 ranked Jayhawks for most of the game. It ended in a 61-56 loss for the Mountaineers, but it was one of the best games WVU played all season. Jeff Withey and Travis Releford led Kansas with 15 points a piece while Aaric Murray led West Virginia with 17.
Kansas is the top rebounding team in the Big 12 and the 13th best in the nation (39.7 per game). They are also one of the best scoring teams in the nation, averaging 74.5 points per game.
Freshman guard Ben McLemore is the leading scorer for the Jayhawks, averaging 15.9 per game. McLemore is also an excellent three-point shooter, shooting them at a 42% clip. Jeff Withey (13.5), Travis Releford (12.4) and Elijah Johnson (10.2) are the other players on the Jayhawks averaging double-figures. Withey leads the team in rebounds, bringing down 8.5 boards per game.
Freshman Eron Harris is the leading scorer for the Mountaineers, averaging 9.3 points per game. It is a realistic possibility that WVU will make it through the season without having a single player averaging double-figures.
Although it has obviously been a disappointing season for this West Virginia team and their fans, a win over Kansas at Phog Allen (considered one of college basketball's most intimidating venues) would be a great foundation to build on.
The game is Saturday at 2:00 p.m. ET and will be aired on CBS.