Outside of a blemish on its resume, West Virginia is set for another strong start this season. The Mountaineers are 6-1 and have just beaten Florida by 29 points in the final game of the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.
WVU is now playing its second real road game of the year, as Hall of Fame head coach Bob Huggins takes on a former program rival in Xavier.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game:
WVU at Xavier hoops game info
WVU match preview at Xavier
Without turning the ball over 13 times and a 5-minute second-half drought, West Virginia’s performance against Florida would have been even more dominant. The Mountaineers routed the Gators in Portland, easily winning the game for fifth place at the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament by 29 points.
West Virginia has won at least six of its first seven games for the eighth time in the last nine seasons.
Xavier was also playing at the PK Legacy Tournament last week. The Musketeers finished in fourth place, winning their opener against Florida by seven points, but then losing to nationally ranked teams Duke and Gonzaga.
Four Mountaineers are averaging double digits in points, led by Erik Stevenson’s 14.1 points per game. Fellow starters Tre Mitchell (12.6) and Emmitt Matthews Jr. (10.1) and point guard Joe Toussaint (11.1) join Stevenson in that regard.
West Virginia’s depth, one of the team’s greatest strengths, will test the Musketeers, who don’t seem to have that much.
Xavier’s starters combine for 72.74 points per contest, which is nearly 90% of the Musketeers’ score production. Former longtime Arizona head coach Sean Miller is in charge of the Xavier program this year. His top scorer is senior forward Jack Nunge, who is listed as a 7-footer.
Only seven players in Miller’s rotation have averaged more than 10 minutes per game. However, Huggins has 10 players averaging at least 12 minutes of playing time per contest.
WVU has now played more than half of its games away this year, but Saturday’s contest will be only their second real road game of the season. WVU won their first in dominant fashion, beating Pitt by 25 points in the latest Backyard Brawl.
The 2008 Sweet Sixteen was the last time WVU and Xavier faced off on the hardwood. This game needed more than regulation to be decided. Despite 58 combined points from Joe Alexander, Da’Sean Butler, Alex Ruoff and Joe Mazzulla, the Mountaineers failed in overtime and narrowly missed a trip to the Elite Eight.
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