West Virginia takes on St. John's in a battle between former Big East rivals from Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Mountaineers played in the Big East from 1979-2013 before moving to the Big 12. The Mountaineers, under legendary coach Bob Huggins, are off to a 7-0 start, though this could be their toughest challenge. The Red Storm, under former Arkansas and Missouri coach Mike Anderson, have own three straight.
Mountaineers are backWest Virginia is still not in the AP Top 25, having received 28 votes this past week. Maybe that's because they finished a disappointing 15-21 last season (4-14 B12). Or the fact that they weren't really tested. Beating rival Pittsburgh on the road (68-53) on Nov. 15 was impressive, though they were a 2.5-point favorite.
Tony Caridi and Bob Huggins preview the matchup with St. John's in the first edition of this year's United Bank Playbook. pic.twitter.com/Dn80pgHXa5— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) December 6, 2019
Huggins' squad had a little more trouble with Rhode Island on Dec. 1 in an 86-81 win over the Rams at home. Sophomore forward Derek Culver scored 25 points and grabbed 11 boards to lead West Virginia, while senior wing Jermaine Haley added 18 points and five boards.
Haley and freshman Oscar Tshiebwe (9.7 rebounds) lead the Mountaineers with 12.3 points per game, while Culver adds 11.1 points and 8.3 rebounds. This is a very balanced squad with four players averaging from 12.3 to 10.6 points per game.
On the season, West Virginia is averaging 74.4 points on 43% shooting (30.9% 3pt). They are allowing 63 points on 37% shooting (28.4% 3pt).
St. John's take care of PeacocksSt. John's took care of local squad Saint Peter's (from Jersey City), 79-69 from Carnesecca Arena. The Red Storm were up by 25 points with around eight minutes left before the Peacocks cut the deficit to six with about a minute left. The 7-2 Red Storm were led by LJ Figueroa, who had 19 points and six boards, while Musthapha Heron added 17 points. Heron (6-5, 195) is averaging 15.2 points on 43.4% shooting (50% 3pt), while Figueroa (6-6, 195) adds 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds.
What nearly cost St. John's the lead against Saint Peter's was 18 turnovers, though St. John's forced 18 turnovers as well. Forcing turnovers is what Anderson wants to see in his "40 minutes of hell" defense.
The Red Storm are outrebounding opponents by 3.7, while West Virginia is outrebounding teams by 8.1 so that is a concern in this game. St. John's is averaging 81.1 points, while allowing 67.2 points on 37.7% shooting (31.3% 3pt). Neither squad is a strong three-point shooting team (30.9% WV, 35.6% SJ). St. John's is forcing 17.8 turnovers, but they are committing 13.7.
West Virginia is
- 7-2-1 ATS last 10 road games after three or more straight home games.
Trends from DonBest.com St. John's is:
- 0-5 ATS last 5 as a dog.
- 3-7-1 ATS last 11 Saturday games.