The real college basketball season officially begins tonight for the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the rest of the Big 12 Conference. With six teams currently ranked in the Top 25, the conference season has the makings to be a legendary one for the Big 12. A conference usually dominated and owned by Kansas is currently wide open for the taking.
No conference has dominated the preseason play quite like the Big 12. As of right now there, isn’t a known weakness in the conference. No team has more than three losses (Texas, 9-3). The Longhorns three losses came at the hands of Duke, Michigan, and Gonzaga.
The Cowboys will welcome Bob Huggins and his 7th ranked Mountaineers (11-1) to Gallagher-Iba Arena tonight. Mike Boynton will have a lot on his plate, as he’ll have to figure out how to beat “Press Virginia”. The Mountaineers are living up to the nickname this season as they’ve been dominating opposing offenses all year with the relentless full court press. They force 20.9 turnovers a game.
It’s going to be a defensive battle tonight. The Cowboys are no slouch when it comes to playing defense and causing havoc. The Cowboys average an impressive 17 forced turnovers per game. if you’re a fan of defense, this is your kind of game.
The Mountaineers are riding an impressive 11 game win streak. The success of the teams isn’t just in the press but in the all-around ability of senior guard Jevon Carter. While Carter’s 18pts, 5reb, and 6ast averages make for an impressive stat-line, the most impressive stat is his 3.6 steals a game. Carter might be the complete guard in all of basketball.
Boynton has high praise for Carter.
“Javon Carter is somehow undervalued nationally,” Boynton said, “but you talk to the coaches in our league and we think he deserves more attention than what he’s gotten because he does things really well on both ends of the floor. He’s a tremendous leader. He scores it well. And he also spearheads them defensively.”
Keys to Victory
Minimize Turnovers: It’s obvious the biggest challenge here tonight for the Cowboys will be taking care of the basketball. Mountaineers are going to cause turnovers whether the Cowboys like it or not, but if they can just minimize the mistakes as much as possible, they’ll have a better chance of leaving tonights game with a victory. Easier said than done, right?
Rebounding: The Mountaineers are a strong rebounding team. They’re at their best when they rebound the ball successfully. They average 41 rebounds a game which ranks them 17th in the nation. The Cowboys aren’t far off. Like most games, this will come down to who can dominate the glass.
Efficiency: In order to win this game, the Cowboys will need highly efficient offense. The Mountaineers will be working to suffocate the offense a much as possible. It’s up to The Cowboys to take their open shots and make the extra pass. Bonehead shots aren’t going to win you a game against this West Virginia team.
Mountaineers 81, Cowboys 73