#10 West Virginia (20-5, 9-3) at #24 Texas (16-9, 7-5)
When: Tuesday, February 16th 2016
Where: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN2
Tenth-ranked West Virginia looks to keep pace with Kansas atop the Big 12 standings when they visit the 24th-ranked Texas Longhorns on Tuesday. The Mountaineers followed up a tough loss at Kansas by dominating TCU 73-42 on Saturday behind Jonathan Holton. The senior forward sat out the previous four games for violating teams rules and came off the bench to score 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out five assists and had two steals in 18 minutes of action. Center Devin Williams (13.3 points, 9.0 rebounds) put up his third double-double in the last five games by registering 11 points and 13 rebounds. West Virginia not only dominated the boards 48-35, but forced 26 TCU turnovers in the victory. The Mountaineers will try and avenge a January 20th loss at Texas (56-49) in which they shot only 31.1% from the floor. Coach Bob Huggins needs one win to tie Lefty Driesell (786) for ninth place on the all-time NCAA list. This will be the first of three tough games in a row for West Virginia as they play Oklahoma and Iowa State at home Saturday and Monday.
Texas is in the middle of a brutal stretch of games of their own and have dropped the last two to fall into a tie for fourth-place in the conference standings. They fell by three points last week at Oklahoma and allowed Iowa State to shoot 55.4% on Saturday in the 85-75 loss. Texas, which will face the top three teams in the conference at home over its last six regular-season games, already has a win at West Virginia under its belt and has yet to lose a Big 12 game in its own building. Last month’s win over West Virginia marked the lowest scoring game for leading scorer Isaiah Taylor (15.2), who had just four points on 0-of-8 shooting. Taylor also had a bad game on Saturday against the Cyclones scoring just 9 points on 3-of-14 shooting. Freshman guard Tevin Mack (5.8 points) came off the bench Saturday to score 18 points including 5-of-12 three-pointers in 27 minutes of action. Texas will need all the offense they can get to beat West Virginia. The Longhorns are ranked 204th in the country in FG% (43.6) and 316th in free-throw percentage (65.1).
Texas’ win over WVU last month was a bit of a fluke and the Longhorns have had trouble with the top teams in the Big 12. The Mountaineers are just too good on defense and on the boards to lose to them twice. I’ll take the road team in this one.
Pick: West Virginia +2.5