This Saturday's contest against the Iowa State Cyclones will be the final regular season and home game for the West Virginia University Basketball Team in 2013. It will also be the last time Deniz Kilicli, Matt Humphrey and Dominique Rutledge play their college basketball at the Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (13-17, 6-11) last played Wednesday against the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman. After several comeback attempts, West Virginia still fell short and fell to OU, 83-70. WVU is currently on a five-game losing streak and have not won since a February 16 game against Texas Tech.
For Iowa State (20-10, 10-7), they have lost two of their last three but had a big win against No. 13 Oklahoma State on Wednesday night. They cannot afford any bad losses down the stretch, so their game against WVU is big for their NCAA Tournament resume.
In the meeting earlier this season in Ames, Cyclone freshman Georges Niang hit a layup with 2.5 seconds left to down the Mountaineers, 69-67. West Virginia fought back from an 18-point deficit, but it was not enough.
Iowa State is one of the best offensive basketball teams in the country, average 80 points per game (1st in Big 12, 4th nationally). They are shooting the ball at a 45.5% clip this season. They are also averaging 38.9 rebounds per game, 2nd in the Big 12.
Senior guard Will Clyburn is the leading scorer for Iowa State, averaging 14.8 points per game. Tyrus McGee (13.8), Georges Niang (11.7), Melvin Ejim (10.9) and Korie Lucious (10.1) are also averaging double-figures. In what has been a disturbing trend all season, the opponent has five players averaging double-figures, while WVU does not have one. The closest is freshman Eron Harris with 9.8.
McGee is also a lethal three-point shooter, shooting 47% from beyond the arc.
In a regular season that has been very disappointing for everybody involved with the WVU basketball program, they want to end it on a solid note going into the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. A win against a solid Iowa State squad could do that.
The game is this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET and will be aired on the Big 12 Network (can be viewed online at ESPN3.com)