The potential this young team brings to Morgantown makes it easy to forget that chemistry isn’t built overnight and that we are still in the early stages of Bob Huggins’ process of molding this team into a winner. We were reminded of this fact last night.
Yesterday’s game was a learning experience, but with a date with a tough Wichita State tonight it makes it important to move forward quickly from it.
In order to break our cold streak shooting the ball, shooting 5-38 from beyond the arc the past two games, the Mountaineers will have to do it versus one of the best defensive teams in the nation this season.
The Shockers, coming off of a 70-47 route of South Carolina, rank 10th nationally in field goal percentage defense and have not allowed a team to shoot over 40% or score more than 63 points in a game all season.
Here are my things to watch for –
1. Wichita State is a very young team who starts only one upperclassman in a lineup that features one junior, three sophomores and one freshman. This seems like a team that our full court pressure can affect. Look for us to press early and often.
2. Even though their starting lineup is relatively young, they do have upperclassmen on the bench with size. 7’0 267 pound Junior Asbjorn Midtgaard and 6’11 258 pound Senior Jaime Echenique will surely be called on to combat our star forwards.
3. We lost our first battle on the glass all season last night with a rebounding margin of 40-35 in favor of Northern Iowa. Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe also combined for only 9 points. Our star tandem will need to play much better and control the glass in order to knock off the Shockers.
4. Jordan McCabe has started all 5 games this season, but has largely been a starter in-name only. Logging only 14 minutes per game this season, compared to Deuce McBride’s 22.4, McCabe has yet to find his groove. McBride is making a strong case to take over as the starting point guard for the Mountaineers. Look for how he responds to this newfound pressure tonight.
One thing for certain is that Wichita State is a very talented team and it’ll be yet another close game in the Cancun Challenge Championship for “Stress Virginia.”