By Ryan Decker, Originally written for West Virginia Illustrated
Coming off a heart-breaking loss in Lubbock on Tuesday, the seventh-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers (12-2, 1-1) returned to action Saturday afternoon against a pair of familiar foes.
Press Virginia welcomes in a Texas Christian University (12-2, 1-1) team that is now led by TCU alumnus, and former Pittsburgh head coach, Jamie Dixon.
Dixon’s highflying Horned Frogs will face a Press Virginia team whose most recent loss had its legendary head coach disappointed with a number of facets including the press itself.
“(The press has) been slipping,” Bob Huggins said following Tuesday’s loss. “I’m incredibly frustrated at this point because we’re better than that… It’s just our discipline, which is 100-percent on me, but you get tired of going in every day and fighting with them.”
WVU created a season-low 13 turnovers Tuesday, a number that has declined each of the last three games since forcing 29 turnovers against Radford. Huggins also touched on the Mountaineers’ need to correct their problems from the free throw line after shooting just 54 percent from the stripe against the Red Raiders – eleven percentage points under the season average.
While West Virginia is shooting just over 65 percent from the free throw line on the year, Dixon’s TCU team is shooting close to 70 percent from the charity stripe, meaning once again that a close game could come down to which team makes more free throws.
Brodziansky and Robinson are TCU’s lone players averaging double figures in scoring, however, Kenrich Williams and Jaylen Fisher are both very near double-digit scoring averages.
Williams, a 6’7” junior guard, is tallying nearly a double-double at 9.8 points and a Big 12-best 9.8 rebounds per game.
Esa Ahmad continues to pace the Mountaineers in scoring at 12.6 points per contest, as one of four Mountaineers averaging double figures.
Overall, West Virginia is the better team scoring wise, and remains one of the top teams in the country in assists per game (18.6) and scoring margin (+29.9).
WVU also remains the best offensive rebounding team in the Big 12, at nearly sixteen offensive boards per contest, and is easily the best team in the conference when it comes to turnover margin (+14.0).
TCU is statistically one of the worst teams in the Big 12 at hanging onto the basketball, which can be a problem going against a Press Virginia team that leads all of college basketball with 13.1 steals per game and with their coach’s comments in mind may be turning up the pressure even more in front of the home crowd.
Tipoff between Texas Christian and West Virginia is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the WVU Coliseum.