Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia’s back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State has turned the Mountaineers from a likely 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament to a potential 4 or 5 seed.
Unlike West Virginia’s loss to the Cowboys at home days ago, the Mountaineers’ defense was actually pretty solid in the rematch. Here’s why West Virginia lost yesterday’s opener in the Big 12 Tournament:
Derek Culver wasn’t Derek Culver
Although Culver looked like himself for a few minutes after receiving an IV at halftime, he just wasn’t effective offensively like the Mountaineers need him to be. In addition, his defense continues to raise eyebrows due to what appears to be a real lack of effort. West Virginia needs a rim-protector and he’s not it.
Oklahoma State is really good
Oklahoma State is peaking at just the right time, and don’t be surprised if they upset Baylor tonight and go on to win the Big 12 Championship. They’re that good. Oklahoma State has talent everywhere and are really well coached.
Emmitt Matthews, Jr.
Saying Emmitt Matthews struggled yesterday is an understatement. Not only did he have a hard time holding onto the ball and made several turnovers, he missed really easy, critically important shots late in the game.
Mountaineers couldn’t match Oklahoma State’s second half intensity
It felt like Oklahoma State wanted this game more, particularly during a stretch in the second half when they went on a 14-1 run. To beat the best teams in the country – and Oklahoma State is in fact one of the best teams in college basketball right now – you can’t fall asleep for several minutes.
West Virginia needs 40 full minutes of intensity and probably had like, 34 minutes of their best effort. 6 minutes of complacency could mean the difference between a win and a loss. It certainly did yesterday.
Although officiating probably didn’t lose the game for the Mountaineers, it certainly didn’t help. Cade Cunningham was given star treatment, there were several bad calls late in the game, and West Virginia only shot 3 foul shots in second half.