West Virginia faces Northern Iowa Tuesday night at 8:30 in the second game of the night in the Riviera Division of the Cancun Challenge in Cancun, Mexico. The opening game of the night features Wichita State against South Carolina (6 p.m.). Both games will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
The Mountaineers (4-0) and Panthers (6-0) each are looking to stay unbeaten. For WVU, the key will be keeping freshman phenom Oscar Tshiebwe out of foul trouble and on the floor. In the two games in which avoided foul problems, Tshiebwe was the Mountaineers best player. He averaged a double-double in wins over Pitt (20 points, 17 rebounds) and Boston University (21 points, 10 rebounds).
in WVU’s other two victories, foul trouble and coach Bob Huggins displeasure limited Tshiebwe. The freshman averaged 4.5 points and six rebounds in West Virginia’s other two games (Akron and Northern Colorado).
Despite his inconsistency, Tshiebwe leads the Mountaineers in rebounding at 9.8 boards a game. He is too talented to lag under foul issues.
Jermaine Haley is the Mountaineers leading scorer early on at 12.8 points per contest. Huggins has spread the minutes widely, taking advantage of WVU’s superior depth against over-matched early opponents.
Like WVU, Northern Iowa is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2018-19 campaign.. The Panthers were 14-16 last year but already have tallied six wins in November. WVU and UNI have Northern Colorado as a common foe this season. The Mountaineers topped UNC, 69-61, in Morgantown while the Panthers edged Northern Colorado, 77-72, at home in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
UNI has four players averaging double-figure scoring, led by junior guard Trae Berhow (14.8 ppg). Junior Austin Phyfe (6-foot-9, 235 pounds) leads the Panthers on the board, tallying 7.2 rebounds a game.
Look for West Virginia to try to exploit the Panthers inferior depth. UNI has five players who average at least 29 minutes a game. No Mountaineer averages that many minutes.
West Virginia is a six point favorite.
The winner of Tuesday night matchup faces the Wichita State-South Carolina winner on Wednesday nigh at 8:30. The losers meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. Those games also will be televised on CBS Sports Network.