basketball-men-d1 flag | February 20, 2015

WVU-OK State the must-see matchup

There is one -- count 'em: 1! -- top-25 matchup this weekend, but that's not the only game to keep an eye on. Teams are jockeying for positioning as the regular season winds down. March beckons; the madness looms.

No. 23 West Virginia at No. 22 Oklahoma State
20-6, 8-5 Big 12 17-9, 7-7 Big 12
2 p.m. ET Saturday  ::  ESPNews

The Big 5-0: As part of Saturday's game, Oklahoma State's 1964-65 team will be recognized for the 50th anniversary of that team's Big Eight Conference championship. The1964-65 Cowboys went 20-7, 12-2 in the Big Eight -- including a 10-0 mark at home. OSU scored three wins against Oklahoma and two victories against Kansas, plus non-conference wins against Arkansas, Texas and Florida State. Members of that team will be treated to social events Friday and Saturday, will sit behind the OSU bench during the game and will be honored at halftime.

Why watch? Oklahoma State looks to rebound after back-to-back losses (TCU and Iowa State). The Cowboys have two wins against teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll and five victories against teams ranked in the top 25. And if history is any indication, the Pokes could get back into the win column: WVU's Bob Huggins 1-6 all-time against Oklahoma State (1-1 as head coach at Cincinnati, 0-1 at Kansas State and 0-4 at West Virginia). OK State's Travis Ford is 4-1 against the Mountaineers (4-0 at OSU, 0-1 at Massachusetts).

Oklahoma State's Anthony Hickey Did you know: OSU's Anthony Hickey was Kentucky's "Mr. Basketball" in 2010-11.
Statistically speaking: West Virginia is 17-0 when holding its opponents to 69 points or less. ... Oklahoma State is 57-3 in its past 60 games when holding its opponent under 60 points. ... West Virginia has made at least one 3-point field goal in 514 consecutive games. The last time WVU did not make a 3-point field goal was against Robert Morris on Nov. 27, 1999. ... Oklahoma State ranks 15th nationally  with 8.5 steals per game. The Cowboys have 221 steals through 26 games. ... The Mountaineers lead the nation with 307 steals and 11.8 steals per game and are No. 1 in the nation with a plus-8.2 turnover margin. ... OSU is fourth nationally in blocked shots per game (5.2), total blocks (134) and scoring defense (60.8 ppg). ... WVU is the nation's top offensive rebounding squad, averaging 17.08 offensive boards per game. ... In Oklahoma State's 17 wins, Anthony Hickey averages 9.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game and shoots .454 pct. from the field and .412 pct. from 3-point range. In OSU's nine losses, Hickey averages 8.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game and shoots .356 pct. from the field and .261 pct. from deep.

Series history: Saturday marks only the sixth meeting between West Virginia and Oklahoma State. The first matchup took place at the Kentucky Invitational on Dec. 19, 1958, with the Mountaineers posting a 67-49 victory.  Last season, Markel Brown’s 3-pointer with 15 seconds left gave the Cowboys a 73-72 victory on Jan. 11 in Morgantown. The Cowboys won 81-75 in Stillwater on Jan. 25.

Notebook:  West Virginia’s full-court pressure has the Mountaineers currently leading the NCAA in four categories: steals, steals per game, turnover margin and offensive rebounds. The Mountaineers have never led any category in the final NCAA statistics. ... Oklahoma State's Le'Bryan Nash has scored in double figures in 25 consecutive games. ...  WVU has 307 steals and has forced opponents to turn over the ball 547 times -- including a school-record 36 by VMI. The Mountaineers are averaging 21.7 points per game off turnovers. ... The Cowboys' Michael Cobbins has blocked at least one shot in 21 of his 23 games this year and in 27 of his past 30 games, dating to last season. ... The Mountaineers' bench is averaging 27.8 points per game. West Virginia outscored Oklahoma’s bench 55-8 earlier this season and also had a 52-point game (VMI) and a 47-point game (K-State). ... OSU's Jeff Newberry started his career at Mississippi in 2011-12, then transferred to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M JC the following season, where he averaged 14.8 points and 4.3 assists per game. He played at New Mexico JC in 2013-14, where he averaged 13.5 points and 3.7 assists per game.

at No. 5 Wisconsin
Miami (Fla.)
at No. 12 Louisville
at No. 1 Kentucky
No. 3 Gonzaga
at St. Mary's (Calif.)
Gotta see Frank the Tank.   Upset watch!   26-0 Cats = must-see TV.   Wiltjer vs. Waldow
Noon Sat. :: ESPN   2 p.m. Sat. :: ESPN   7 p.m. Sat. :: ESPN   10 p.m. Sat. :: ESPN2
Complete TV schedule

Information compiled from West Virginia and Oklahoma State team sites.

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