TEXAS LONGHORNS (18-4)
at WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (18-3)
WVU Coliseum - Morgantown, WV
Tip-off: Monday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: West Virginia -6, Total: 125.5
Texas seeks its first true road win of the season when it travels to Morgantown, WV to face West Virginia on Monday night.
The Longhorns are 0-6 SU in true road games this season, getting outscored 80-66 in these contests. But they have won two of their past three games by lopsided margins, beating Texas Tech by 16 and TCU by 17, committing just 10.5 TOPG in these two victories. West Virginia is one-half game ahead of Texas in the Big 12 standings at 3-6 SU, but it is 6-3 ATS in conference play. These teams have played three straight tight meetings, with Texas winning neutral-court affairs in 2005 (by 1 point) and 2006 (by 3 points), but WVU prevailing 57-53 in overtime last month in Austin.
Will Texas earn its first true road win or will West Virginia win comfortably on Monday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Gary is 7-4 ATS (64%) in his past five days of Best Bets, boosting his season record to 56% ATS (69-55-1). StatFox Dave has gone 13-9 ATS (59.1%) in the past seven days to move to 53.1% ATS (112-99-3) for the season.
Texas has a subpar offense that averages a mere 63.9 PPG (259th in nation) on 41.4% FG (262nd in D-I). But the Longhorns work hard on the defensive end, allowing opponents to make just 35.8% FG and 35.4% threes, numbers which both rank second-best in the nation. But turnovers (15.7 TOPG, 301st in nation) and a lack of made three-pointers (4.7 per game, 299th in D-I) continue to plague this team. In the past three road games, Texas has committed 44 turnovers, while forcing just 24 miscues. The Longhorns continue to be without both suspended PG Myck Kabongo (who will return Feb. 13) and injured F Jonathan Holmes who had team highs of 12 points and nine rebounds in the Jan. 9 home loss to West Virginia. Sophomore swingman Sheldon McClellan (14.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG) leads Texas in scoring, but shoots just 37.9% FG and 29.6% threes. McClellan was an anemic 2-of-13 FG (0-for-6 threes) in the home loss to WVU, but currently has five straight double-figure scoring efforts, averaging 16.6 PPG on a respectable 44% FG during this stretch. Fellow sophomore SG Julien Lewis (11.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG) is in the midst of a 13-of-38 shooting slump (34.2%) in his past four games, failing to reach 10 points in three of these contests. Lewis also has 46 turnovers and just 30 assists this season. PG Javan Felix (8.0 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.5 RPG) has distributed the rock nicely, but his shooting percentages have been dreadful. Felix is making just 33.7% FG and 5-of-26 threes (19.2%) this season.
West Virginia's offense isn't much better than the Longhorns, averaging 67.1 PPG (188th in D-I) on 40.1% FG (309th in nation). The Mountaineers are able to overcome this poor shooting with a lack of turnovers (12.5 TOPG, 87th in nation) and a good number of steals per game (7.6 SPG, 100th in D-I). Because WVU has 11 players averaging at least 11 MPG, C Aaric Murray is the team's only double-digit scorer at 10.1 PPG and also leads the squad in rebounds (6.5 RPG) and blocks (1.7 BPG). Murray has 13.3 PPG (55% FG) during a three-game streak of 10+ points, and tallied a double-double (12 points and 10 rebounds) while adding four steals in Austin last month. SG Juwan Staten (9.9 PPG, 2.9 APG) has 12.5 PPG on 9-of-17 FG in the past two games, but makes just 41.5% FG for the season. Freshman SG Eron Harris (8.0 PPG) is the team's best three-point scoring threat (39%) and scored 18 points in Saturday's win in Lubbock. Sophomore PG Jabarie Hinds (7.5 PPG) has been off the mark all year at 33.0% FG and 25.4% threes. Hinds scored 11 points with six rebounds in the Jan. 9 win at Texas, but shot a dreadful 4-of-18 FG (1-of-7 threes). SG Gary Browne was a perfect 3-of-3 FG (all from three-point range) on Saturday, but is just 33.3% FG and 21.3% threes on the season. However, he does shoot a blistering 82% from the free-throw line. Six-foot-10 sophomore PF Kevin Noreen (2.8 PPG) isn't a scoring threat, but he pulled down 13 boards (4 offensive) in last month's victory over the Longhorns.