After multiple postponements, the No. 6 West Virginia men’s basketball team will host the No. 3 Baylor Bears at the WVU Coliseum on Tuesday night in a pivotal top 10 matchup in the Big 12.
West Virginia (17-6, 10-4 Big 12) has been nearly unbeatable over the past couple of weeks as it has won six of its last seven games to sit in second place in the Big 12 going into the final week of the regular season. The only loss was a double overtime defeat against Oklahoma on Feb. 13.
Recently, West Virginia defeated Kansas State, 65-43, to complete the season sweep against the Wildcats. The Mountaineers didn’t look spectacular offensively as they finished the game shooting 22-of-53 (42%) from the field and just 6-of-20 (30%) from three-point range.
Over the past two games, WVU has shot a combined 11-of-41 (27%) from behind the arc. On the year, West Virginia shoots 37% on average from three-point range which is second-best in the Big 12 behind the Baylor Bears.
Only two Mountaineers finished the game in double-digits, as Sean McNeil was the leading scorer with his 16-point outing — over the past five games, McNeil has scored at least 16 points five times. Derek Culver was the other Mountaineer to reach double-digits with 11 points. Culver has scored in double-digits in nine straight games and he has also recorded four double-doubles in that span.
The Baylor Bears (18-1, 10-1 Big 12) will be playing on Tuesday for the first time following a loss. Before their defeat at the hands of the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday, the Bears hadn't lost a game since March 7, 2020, against West Virginia at the WVU Coliseum, 76-64.
Against Kansas, the Bears were horrendous shooting the ball. As a team, Baylor finished 23-of-66 (35%) from the floor and 6-of-26 (23%) from three-point range. This was Baylor’s worst three-point shooting performance since it went 4-of-19 (21%) against Iowa State on Jan. 2.
Baylor is led by Jared Butler who ranks No. 5 in the Big 12 with 16.4 points per game. The Bears have four players averaging double-digits with MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell and Adam Flagler joining Butler with their season outputs.
Butler had is worst scoring performance of the year against Kansas with just five points on 1-of-7 (14%) shooting from three-point range.
Baylor is the best offensive team in the Big 12 as it averages 84.9 points per game. The Bears shoot at an alarmingly productive rate as they rank No. 1 in the conference in field goal shooting at 49.5% and No. 1 in three-point shooting at 42%.
However, Baylor has had offensive struggles since returning from its three-week COVID-19 pause. In its first two games since returning, Baylor is a combined 39% from field goal range and 14-of-51 (27%) from three-point range. In the four games prior to their COVID-19 pause, the Bears shot a combined 49-of-103 (47.5%) from behind the arc.
Since joining the Big 12, West Virginia is 8-10 against Baylor in head-to-head meetings. The Bears have won three of the last four meetings, but West Virginia has won four of the last five games in Morgantown against Baylor.
Baylor will be the fourth AP Top 5 team that West Virginia has faced this season.
Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.