The West Virginia Mountaineers have won two games in a row after defeating Kansas State. The Mountaineers improved their overall record to 13-9 while having a 5-4 record in Big 12 play.
"We're getting better," said head coach Bob Huggins. "We were just so young at the beginning of the year. I think our freshmen are starting to understand what it takes to win. At the beginning of the year I don't think they had any idea."
The Mountaineers will turn their focus to Oklahoma this Wednesday in another game at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
Oklahoma enters the match-up with a 17-5 overall record and a 6-3 Big 12 record. The Sooners are also nationally ranked, sitting at twenty-first in the nation. Head coach Lon Kruger's team has surprised most but the Sooners have established themselves as legitimate contenders in the Big 12.
"Lon [Kruger] does a great job," Huggins said. "Obviously he's won everywhere he's ever been."
The Sooners are coming off a loss to sixteenth ranked Iowa State. The Cyclones beat the Sooners 81-75. Buddy Hield, Oklahoma's top guard and potentially the best guard in the conference scored 30 points in that loss while forward, Ryan Spangler hauled in 12 rebounds.
"Their freshman from a year ago have a year under their belt and are playing extremely well," Huggins said. "I think Spangler is obviously the best rebounder in our league and maybe the best player in the league. I think they present a lot of problems."
Rebounding is an area the Mountaineers have found some improvement in but with lack of forward depth, it's been on the shoulders of freshman Devin Williams to add a presence inside the lane.
Williams in the Mountaineers' last game against Kansas State reeled in just four rebounds and scored only four points. Other players such as Nathan Adrian, Brandon Watkins and Remi Dibo have been seeing extended playing time in an effort to rejuvenate the Mountaineers' inside play.
It's no secret that West Virginia relies on their perimeter players, Juwan Staten, Eron Harris and Terry Henderson to make things happen.
"We obviously need to make shots, we're so perimeter oriented," said Huggins.
The main go-to-guy has been Staten, who last game scored a career-high 35 points. Staten had a big day at the free throw line going 18-21. Staten will look to continue his success heading into the game against Oklahoma.
A lot can be said about the Big 12 in general. It's arguably one of the best conferences in NCAA Division I basketball. Huggins and company realize the challenges the Big 12 possesses and Huggins says the team has to take it a game at a time.
"To be honest, I haven't paid attention [to our schedule]," Huggins said when asked about the stretch of games ahead for his squad. "I'm not too worried about our next couple of games. You just got to get ready for whoever you have next. I'm sure they've [his players] looked at the schedule and standings but it's been more about the next game."
Oklahoma visits the WVU Coliseum Wednesday night as West Virginia will try to capture their third straight win and knock off the twenty-first ranked team in the nation.