The Mountaineers (11-4, 1-2) are coming off a surprising loss of their own. After starting out 10-1 and gaining a national ranking, Bub Huggins' boys have dropped three of their last four (Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Louisville) with a WTF win over #10 Marquette nestled in there. Luckily for them they're back home in the WVUColiseum where they are undefeated so far this season.
If you stomach the Vince McMahon theme song, feel free to get a closer look at the 'Neers in their win over Marquette.
The Mountaineers are averaging 81.2 ppg compared to Syracuse 84.7 so expect to see the scorboard light up. Unlike the Orange however, the Mountaineers don't turn the ball over often (11.6/game) so the Orange are gonna have to earn it. The Orange have the rebounding, assists, blocks and steals edge but that assumes all the moving parts are working for Syracuse and things like Arinze Onuaku disappearing doesn't happen.
The 'Neers are led by guard Alex Rouff and forward Joe Alexander, both of whom are averaging over 16 points a game. Alexander also leads the team with 6.1 rebounds per game. Senior guard Darris "Don't Call Me Demetris" Nichols averages 10.9 points per game but is really the team leader and an effective ball distributor.
The Orange lead the overall series 13-4 including the last three meetings. For them to make it four in a row, the Orange will need to get back to their high-scoring ways, win the rebounding battle, play smart on offense and avoid turnovers and fight through the hostile crowd. It's still a lot to ask of our young team.
Last time I predicted the Orange would lose they rose to the occasion and proved me wrong (Virginia). This way, I won't feel so bad Sunday when they prove me wrong again.Prediction: West Virginia 88, Syracuse 84