It has often been said that a team with nothing to lose is a very dangerous team, and that certainly is the case when No. 12 West Virginia takes on Iowa State at the WVU Coliseum on Wednesday.
The Cyclones (9-12, 2-6 Big 12) are having a down year by their standards and have not won a true road game yet this season, losing all six.
They have lost their last three games and will look to have a better finish in Morgantown after blowing a late lead on the road at Texas in their last game on Saturday.
Iowa State is led by sophomore point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who puts in 15.7 points per game, six rebounds per game and almost seven assists per game. He leads the team in all three categories.
Haliburton also is the Cyclones’ best shooter, coming in at 50% from the field, 41% from the three-point line, and 83% from the free throw stripe.
The only other Cyclone averaging double digit points is sophomore Rasir Bolton, who comes in just behind Haliburton at 15.2 points per game.
The Mountaineers (17-4, 5-3) are led by freshman Oscar Tshiebwe, averaging 11.2 points per game, followed closely by sophomore Derek Culver at 11 and freshman Miles “Deuce” McBride with 10.2.
Culver and Tshiebwe have been trading places for the team lead in rebounding, but a 14 rebound performance by Culver in the last game against Kansas State has propelled him to the top spot, averaging 9.2 rebounds per game while Tshiebwe averages nine.
WVU has had a stout defense this season, holding teams to 37% from the field and 27% from three-point range. They have also held their opponents to 61 points per game.
The Mountaineers have also had a rebounding advantage for many games this season, averaging 41 rebounds per game compared to 32 by the opponents.
The Cyclones have a rebounding margin of -1.3 this season.
The game on Wednesday will begin at 7 p.m. and be nationally televised on ESPN2.