TCU-West Virginia Preview
West Virginia attempts to generate scoring by securing more possessions through turnovers forced with its full-court, high-pressure defense.
That becomes a moot point if its offense is giving the ball back at a similar rate.
The 18th-ranked Mountaineers look to avoid a third defeat in four games Saturday as they host a TCU team also looking to get back on track offensively.
West Virginia (15-3, 3-2 Big 12) leads the nation with 22.1 turnovers forced per contest, attempting to put opponents on their heels from the opening tip. It has continued to gain extra possessions at a high rate, but it hasn’t been able to execute on the offensive end lately.
The Mountaineers forced 18 turnovers against then-No. 17 Iowa State on Jan. 10, but shot just 32.4 percent from the field in a 74-72 loss. After beating then-No. 18 Oklahoma 86-65 on Jan. 13, they shot 24.1 percent and turned it over a season high-tying 17 times in last Saturday’s 77-50 loss to then-No. 20 Texas.
Leading scorer Juwan Staten has scored seven points while shooting 2 for 16 over his last two.
The 19 turnovers West Virginia forced against the Longhorns were negated as it was outrebounded 44-32 and had its worst shooting performance since a 20.0 percent mark in a loss to Cincinnati on Jan. 30, 2008.
"They imposed their will on us and we didn’t respond to it very well,” coach Bob Huggins said.
West Virginia’s pressure defense often leads to personal fouls, as it ranks in the bottom 10 in the nation in fouls per game with 22.3. It committed a season-high 30 against Texas, as Jonathan Holton, Devin Williams and Jaysean Paige all fouled out.
”We weren’t flat,” Huggins said. ”You could argue we weren’t very smart. We just did dumb things. Jon Holton can’t play eight minutes and we beat Texas. Can’t do it. We need him on the floor.”
Gary Browne was the only Mountaineer in double figures with 14 points, and he scored a season-high 16 as Staten sat out with an illness in a 78-67 win over TCU on Jan. 3.
That marked the first defeat of the season for the Horned Frogs (14-4, 1-4), who committed a season-worst 18 turnovers. They entered that contest shooting 48.5 percent from the field, but they’ve shot just 39.7 percent while dropping four of five.
TCU committed just eight turnovers to tie its fewest of the season but shot 33.3 percent in Monday’s 66-48 loss to Texas.
”I just think this is one game where for the first time I just didn’t like our effort,” coach Trent Johnson said. ”It’s not a lot I liked out there. There will be more opportunities in this league."
Kyan Anderson, who scored 19 points in the first meeting with West Virginia, hit 1 of 5 from the field and was held to a season-low two points. Kenrich Williams was the only TCU player in double figures with 10.
"The thing I like about Kenrich is he can play against Michael Jordan and it won’t dictate his approach," Johnson said. "That’s the way he is in practice. He competes."
The Mountaineers have won each of the five all-time meetings between these schools.