On Saturday morning, the WVU men’s basketball team was 15-1, owners of a 15-game winning streak and ranked No. 2 in the country. As of Tuesday morning, that No. 2 ranking had become a No. 6 ranking and the Mountaineers were owners of a two-game losing streak and a 15-3 record. And life won’t get much easier the next three games with home contests against Texas and Kentucky and a road trip to TCU on the horizon.
So what has changed over the last two games? In comparing a lot of the numbers, plenty.
Let’s look at how WVU has fared and how opponents have fared against WVU before the two losses and in those two losses. For brevity’s sake, we’ll call the two categories “Before” and “After.”
|Points||82.8 ppg||68.5 ppg|
|Assists||16.3 apg||9.5 apg|
|Turnovers||11.9 topg||14.5 topg|
|Rebounds||40.2 rpg||34.5 rpg|
|Points||64.9 ppg||71.5 ppg|
|Assists||11.5 apg||12 apg|
|Turnovers||20.3 topg||13 topg|
|Rebounds||35.3 rpg||31 rpg|
Summary: In that two-game skid, the Mountaineers are scoring more than 14 fewer points per game and allowing more than six more per game. Shooting 29 percent from 3 won’t help at all. Assists are way down, nearly seven per game, and that’s really not good. Turnovers are up, and that’s really not good. And WVU is forcing a lot fewer turnovers, and that’s really, really not good. West Virginia forced more than seven fewer turnovers per game against Texas Tech and Kansas as opposed to everyone else it has played. Considering the fact that forcing turnovers is WVU’s defensive identity, that is something that needs turned around by the time the Mountaineers host Texas on Saturday.