Since beating Texas in early January, the Mountaineers have gone into a tailspin. They're 2-6 in their last 8 games, with wins coming against only the worst Big 12 teams, Texas Tech and TCU. Bob Huggins has shaken up his starting lineup. Junior center Aaric Murray, who led the way with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first game against Texas, now comes off the bench, as does freshman wing Terry Henderson and sophomore guard Juwan Staten.
In an effort to get more scoring on the floor, Huggins inserted freshman guard Eron Harris into the starting lineup. Harris has responded with a nice string of games, hitting double figures in scoring in 5 of the last 6. Production is still very hit or miss with this team, with senior forward Deniz Kilicli perhaps the second-most stable factor.
Expect another ugly game tonight. Last time, the teams combined to shoot 38-117 (32.5%) from the field, with Texas hitting just 11-25 (44.0%) from the line. The story is the same: West Virginia can't shoot but will force turnovers and hit the offensive glass.
In order to win, Texas will need stable production out of its freshman bigs, Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh. Both Ridley and Ibeh were outplayed last time, in yet another frustrating effort aainst more experienced and mature interior players. Power forward Jaylen Bond will also need to step up to replace Jonathan Holmes' production. Holmes tallied 12 points and 9 rebounds in the first matchup.
In the backcourt, Harris wasn't much of a factor in the first game, playing 21 minutes but scoring just 3 points. West Virginia will likely try to feed him the ball more, giving Julien Lewis a chance to step up and play lockdown defender. If Harris gets hot, Sheldon McClellan will need to do his best to match him shot for shot.
It's a winnable game, but Texas will need to bring much better effort and consistency than it showed on its last road trip to Kansas St. Hook 'em.
West Virginia: G -(#21 - Sr. - Questionable - Shoulder Injury)
TEXAS (10-11, 2-6)
at West Virginia (10-11, 3-5)
Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 • 8 p.m. CT
Morgantown, W.Va. • WVU Coliseum (14,000)
TV: ESPN | WatchESPN.com
Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Fran Fraschilla (analyst)
Radio: Longhorn IMG Radio Network
Craig Way (play-by-play), Eddie Oran (analyst)
Satellite Radio: XM 202 / Sirius 216
Streaming Audio: TexasSports.com
Live Stats: GameTracker