No. 12 West Virginia will compete in their fourth conference game of the 2019-2020 season when they host the TCU Horned Frogs at the WVU Coliseum. The action tips off at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Teams competing in this season of Big 12 basketball all seem to have one common gripe: scoring the basketball. Only Iowa State is averaging over 70 points per game in conference play, with four teams — including West Virginia — not quite cracking the 60-point per game mark.
While their offense isn’t exactly helping the conference scoring average, West Virginia’s defense has created major problems for their three Big 12 opponents so far. They’ve only allowed Kansas to hit the 60-point mark since beginning conference play, giving up 51.67 points per game, trailing only Baylor in that category.
With a 13-2 record, a top-12 ranking in the AP poll and a top-10 spot in the NET rankings, the Mountaineers seem to have played themselves back into the NCAA Tournament. The 12-3 Horned Frogs, on the other hand, are still trying to garner that attention to get to the dance.
Now on a four-game winning streak, that buzz may start coming as the latter half of the season goes on — but first, they have to beat West Virginia in Morgantown, a feat they haven’t accomplished in 7 tries.
Here are some of the matchups and storylines for tonight’s contest:
WVU’s number one villain: Desmond Bane
TCU coach Jamie Dixon will look to his backcourt for most of his scoring, which is mostly where it’s come from all season. Four of the Horned Frogs’ top five scorers are guards, with Desmond Bane leading the way at 17.1 points per game.
Bane is a strong jump shooter making his three-pointers at a 44.2-percent clip so far. He also has the ability to take games over, with six 20+ point games so far this year including a 30-point trip in the Horned Frogs’ win over TCU.
He’s not the only shooter on TCU’s squad — three of the top five three-point shot-makers are Horned Frogs, with the other two being Francisco Farabello (45.7 percent from deep) and Jaire Grayer (44.3 percent).
Will Tshiebwe and Culver be too much for Samuel?
TCU forward Kevin Samuel got off to a hot start this season, logging four double-doubles in the first five games. From that point forward, he seemed to go up and down, but got it together in time for conference season with a 16-point, 9-board game in their Big 12 opener vs. Iowa State. As a top-five rebounder in the Big 12, it would suffice to say that he’s one of the league’s top big men — but he could meet his match in the Mountaineers.
Samuel faces off against Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver, two halves of one of the toughest frontcourts in the Big 12. They man the one and two spots in the Big 12’s rebounding standings, and are a massive part of West Virginia’s stringent defense inside.
Where to watch, odds, and more
West Virginia is currently 7.5-point favorites at home over TCU.
This matchup will be shown on ESPNU at 9 p.m. ET, and it can be streamed on the WatchESPN app. If you can’t get to a screen to view it, Tony Caridi and Jay Jacobs will have the call on the Mountaineer Sports Network by Learfield IMG.
You can also follow our live coverage of the contest on WVIllustrated.com and on social media, both leading up to tip and after the final buzzer.