When West Virginia travels to Waco Saturday, the Mountaineers are going to face their mini-me.
Baylor, like WVU, plays hard-nosed defense. Baylor, like WVU, doesn’t play an aesthetically pleasing form of basketball. But, as evidenced by their No. 1 ranking and 21-game winning streak, the Bears play an effective form of basketball.
Where the mini-me comparison comes in is that unlike West Virginia, which relies heavily on the Twin Towers front line of sophomore Derek Culver (6-foot-11) and Oscar Tshiewbe (6-9), Baylor is led by a guard-heavy lineup.
Five of the Bears top six scorers are guards, none bigger than 6-3. Their lone inside presence is senior forward Freddie Gillespie (6-9). Gillespie leads the Bears in rebounding (8.9 per game) and is fourth in scoring (9-8 point per game).
The winner of the chess match between WVU coach Bob Huggins and Baylor coach Scott Drew likely will be which coach can better exploit his team’s advantage – WVU’s size or Baylor’s quickness.
Along those lines, expect Huggins to go small Saturday afternoon. That could mean more rotations with point guards Jordan McCabe and Miles McBride playing together. Maybe we’ll see some three-guard sets that include Brandon Knapper, Taz Sherman and/or Chase Harler. Big guard Jermain Haley (6-7) might play a greater role underneath.
Whatever we see Satuday as the Mountaineers try to pull the upset in Waco, Texas, expect it to be a “little” different.