University of Missouri

Missouri-West Virginia basketball preview

Updated: 2013-12-05T00:20:53Z

PNo.West VirginiaHt.Yr.PPG
F5Devin Williams6-9Fr.10.0
F11Nathan Adrian6-9Fr.6.3
F34Kevin Noreen6-10Jr.3.8
G3Juwan Staten6-1Jr.16.4
G10Eron Harris6-3So.20.3

PNo.MissouriHt.Yr.PPG
F3Johnathan Williams III6-9Fr.7.3
F44Ryan Rosburg6-10So.6.9
G5Jordan Clarkson6-5Jr.19.4
G32Jabari Brown6-5Jr.19.3
G33Earnest Ross6-5Sr.13.4

• WHEN/WHERE: 6 p.m. Thursday at Mizzou Arena

• TV/RADI O: ESPN2; KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)

• ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (6-2) : Bob Huggins, formerly the head coach at Kansas State among other stops, is tied with former Missouri coach Norm Stewart and Jerry Tarkanian for 16th on the NCAA’s career victories list with 729. Huggins has a chance to pass Stewart on the very court that bears the legendary Tigers coach’s name in The Big 12/SEC Challenge. Much like Missouri, the Mountaineers will rely on its starting backcourt, junior Juwan Staten and sophomore Eron Harris, for scoring punch. Staten has a mind-bloggling 60 assists and only nine turnovers this season.

• ABOUT MISSOURI (7-0): Missouri mastered its first major conference test, beating Northwestern in Las Vegas last week. Of course, the exams are only going to get tougher, beginning with a feisty West Virginia squad. Nearly 65 percent of Missouri’s scoring comes from its starting backcourt, but these are kind of games where freshman Johnathan Williams III, who averages 7.3 and a team-high 8.3 rebounds, and sophomore Ryan Rosburg, who averages 6.9 points, need to be effective and efficient in the paint on offense.

• BOTTOM LINE: Missouri owns the nation’s longest active homecourt win streak at 22. Against nonconference competition, the Tigers have been even tougher, winning 77 straight at Mizzou Arena. West Virginia, which averages 10 three-pointers per game with 80 in eight games, shoots a ridiculous 46.5 percent from long distance, so protecting the perimeter will be key. Oddly, the Mountaineers aren’t a strong free-throw shooting team (66.9 percent). Huggins is 3-0 in his career against Missouri.

| Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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