Mountaineers Prepare for TCU, Final Stretch of Regular Season - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers Prepare for TCU, Final Stretch of Regular Season

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Elijah Macon celebrates a made shot during Saturday's win over Texas Tech. Elijah Macon celebrates a made shot during Saturday's win over Texas Tech.

By Chris Jackson

Sports Editor

With head coach Bob Huggins assuring everyone his health is okay, it’s time for West Virginia to prepare for the stretch run.

Three games remain in the regular season as the Mountaineers (22-6, 10-5) are tied with Baylor and Iowa State for second place in the Big 12. Right now, they hold the tiebreaker over both – who are also the final two games on the gauntlet.

Now, it’s about fighting through and finishing strong ahead of the Big 12 Tournament.

“That’s when you’re supposed to get better,” said WVU junior forward Elijah Macon. “By now you should know everyone’s defense and how everybody plays in this conference. You play everybody twice.”

That stretch run starts with a trip to TCU (17-11, 6-9) at 2 p.m. Saturday, whose major turnaround in year No. 1 Jamie Dixon has it on the cusp of an NCAA bid. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi lists the Horned Frogs as one of the last four teams in, which would end the program’s Tournament drought dating back to 1998.

WVU may be without sophomore forward Esa Ahmad for a second straight game after missing Monday night’s win over Texas with back spasms. His status remains unknown as the team is set to play two games in three days, compounded by the difficult travel schedule as head coach Bob Huggins mentioned in Thursday’s teleconference.

“If he’s not 100 percent and ready to go, I don’t know that we’re doing him or the team any justice,” Huggins said. “It just kind of depends on, really, what the medical staff says and how he feels.”

Regardless of Ahmad’s status, WVU is in for another showdown in conference play. Although TCU is losers of four straight, the progress made under former Pitt lead man Jamie Dixon is more than noticeable.

Frontcourt play is at the head of the charge, featuring JD Miller and Alex Robinson. Brodziansky, Miller is one of the most improved players recently through the conference, who after struggling in the early going, is a double-digit scorer in three straight games.

But Robinson and Vladimir Brodziansky led the way in the last meeting, combining for 31 points and a 13-of-15 mark at the free throw line.

“He’s a good player,” Huggins said of Robinson. “I think they’ve made a very conscious effort to try to get the ball in the paint We’ve got to do a good job of sitting down, standing in front of him.”

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