There is a very juicy chance for Texas basketball to claim its first winning streak in Big 12 play in more than a month against WVU today.
The time is here for the Texas basketball program to lock down and try and reach the potential that we all know this group has. Texas basketball might be the most up and down team in the Big 12 this season.
Very few teams in the Big 12 this season have the high ceiling and capability to keep up with top teams in the nation than Texas basketball. Injuries and/or suspensions haven’t derailed this Texas basketball team like it did the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Kansas Jayhawks. Turnover hasn’t bottomed the team out in the Big 12 standings like the West Virginia Mountaineers.
But, what Texas basketball can do against West Virginia on Feb. 9 is establish a winning streak in Big 12 play for the first time since it first started at the beginning of January. Texas basketball tipped off Big 12 play originally with two straight victories over West Virginia and the Kansas State Wildcats. Since then, this team struggled to string together two straight wins.
The good thing for Texas basketball is that it is still in a good place to stay in the top half of the Big 12 standings and find a slot in the NCAA Tournament come Selection Sunday. Texas basketball comes into this key Big 12 showdown against the Mountaineers with a record of 13-10 (5-5 Big 12). Meanwhile, West Virginia enters this matchup with a record of 10-13 (2-8 Big 12).
Few teams in the Big 12 can boast the starting five that head Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart is sporting now. The back court trio that includes point guards Matt Coleman and Courtney Ramey and the ultra-athletic senior Kerwin Roach Jr. is actually making moves for this team. If the front court can continue to come up big for the Texas Longhorns, this could be an ugly game for West Virginia.
A big performance from big men Jaxson Hayes and Dylan Osetkowski will put the Horns in position to win two straight in general and two straight against West Virginia this season, to sweep the series. Texas basketball is coming off a big double-digit home victory over a top three Big 12 team in the Baylor Bears.
West Virginia is coming off a devastating 81-50 road loss against the stout Texas Tech Red Raiders. There’s a chance for the Horns to take advantage of momentum that the Mountaineers have none of.
ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives Texas basketball a 58 percent chance to claim this victory on the road in Morgantown, WV. Texas also enters as a 3.5-point favorite over the Mountaineers. But, there is one player the Horns need to watch out for on this day.
Freshman West Virginia guard Brandon Knapper had a few huge outings lately, including in the eight-point surprising victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. Whenever West Virginia actually put together a good end-to-end effort of late, Knapper and freshman forward Derek Culver played big roles for them.
However, this should be a victory that the Horns claim easily on Feb. 9. They can’t completely overlook West Virginia with opposition like the Iowa State Cyclones and Texas Tech looming. But, Texas needs to take care of business in this Big 12 matchup.