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Texas Longhorns Hoops vs. West Virginia Mountaineers: Preview & Open Thread

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Horns Up in Texas' first Big 12 home game.

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The Texas Longhorns (8-6, 0-1) and West Virginia Mountaineers (8-7, 0-1) come in to this game with similar records, both needing multiple signature conference wins if they want any shot of making the NCAAs. The Mounties aren't what you would call good. They have only one bad loss (to Duquesne), but no belt-notching wins. Right now, WVU is generally considered the 8th best team in the conference, better than only Texas Tech and TCU.

Sophomore point guard Juwan Staten, who sat out a year after transferring from Dayton, leads the team in MPG (32.3), PPG (11.0), and APG (3.2). Staten is not a great shooter and won't be a threat from beyond the arc. He's flanked in a three-guard set by sophomore Jabarie Hinds and freshman Terry Henderson.

Two players expected to be major contributors at shooting guard, senior Matt Humphrey and sophomore Aaron Brown, haven't gotten untracked this year. In the backcourt, no one beyond Staten is that scary, although Henderson scored 21 in WVU's last game against Oklahoma, and 23 against Michigan.

Another first year transfer, junior Aaric Murray, anchors the middle. He was enigmatic at LaSalle, but NBA scouts believe he has draftable potential. Murray averages 10.5 PPG and 7.5 RPG this year. Alongside Murray is Deniz Kilicli, who was expected to take a step up this year but has disappointed so far.

Like Texas, West Virginia can't hit the broad side of the barn, but the Mountaineers take care of the ball and crash the offensive boards aggressively. Defensively, their guards are small, and their bigs aren't particularly strong-willed defenders. It should be a winnable game for Texas, and likely another ugly performance on offense for both teams.

Oh by the way, the last time Texas played Big 12 newcomer West Virginia, this happened:

LINEUP

PROJECTED STARTERS

Texas: G - Javan Felix (#3 - Fr.) | G - Julien Lewis (#14 - So.) | G - Sheldon McClellan (#1 - So.) | F - Jonathan Holmes (#10 - So.) | C - Cameron Ridley (#55 - Fr.)

West Virginia: G - Juwan Staten (#3 - So.) | G - Jabarie Hinds (#4 - So.) | G - Terry Henderson (#15 - Fr.) | F - Deniz Kilicli (#13 - Sr.) | C - Aaric Murray (#24 - Jr.)

BENCH

Texas: G - DeMarcus Holland (#2 - Fr.) | F - Ioannis Papapetrou (#33 - Fr.) | F - Jaylen Bond (#2 - So.) | F - Connor Lammert (#21 - Fr.) | C - Prince Ibeh (#44 - Fr.)

West Virginia: G - Gary Browne (#14 - So.) | G - Eron Harris (#10 - Fr.) | | F - Keaton Miles (#55 - So.) | F - Dominique Rutledge (#1 - Sr.) | F - Kevin Noreen (#34 - So.)

INJURIES/ISSUES

Texas: G - Myck Kabongo (#1 - So. - Out Until Feb - NCAA Eligibility)

West Virginia: G - Matt Humphrey (#21 - Sr. - Limited - Shoulder Injury)

TEXASSPORTS.COM MEDIA/NOTES

TEXAS (8-6, 0-1)
vs. West Virginia (7-6, 0-1)
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2012 • 8 p.m. CT
Austin, Texas • Erwin Center (16,540)


TV: ESPN2 | WatchESPN.com
Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Stephen Bardo (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