Men’s preview: No. 4 Texas vs. No. 14 West Virginia
No. 4 Texas at No. 14 West Virginia
When: Noon Saturday
Where: WVU Coliseum (About 200 WVU friends and family allowed)
TV/radio: ESPN/104.9 The Horn
About the series: Texas leads 12-9. The Horns had lost four straight but have since won four of the last five games. That includes a 67-57 win in Austin last season.
About the Longhorns: It may be a while before Texas plays in front of fans again — at any school. No fans were allowed at Tuesday’s home game against Iowa State. No fans are being allowed at West Virginia until at least Jan. 24, according to the Mountaineers. Right now, it’s doubtful UT will allow any fans in against Texas Tech (Jan. 13) or Kansas State (Jan. 16). City health officials are currently in a Stage 5 designation, the highest level possible, because of COVID-19 numbers. “Depending on where you play at, fans do play a factor,” Coleman said. “I guess that’s why you treat road wins so special, including in conference.” With no fans to influence the outcome, the better team likely has a better chance of winning.
About the Mountaineers: The news of Oscar Tshiebwe’s decision to leave the program ricocheted around the Big 12 on New Year’s Day. The 6-9 forward averaged 11.2 points and 9.3 rebounds last season but suddenly left Morgantown with no explanation given. The five-star recruit was just the program’s second-ever McDonald’s All-American. “Oscar has our full support, and we certainly wish him the best during this time,” Huggins said in a statement on Jan. 1. In the days since, WVU lost at Oklahoma and then beat Oklahoma State. These next two will be especially difficult. The Mountaineers could use that length against the long-armed Longhorns. WVU next faces No. 2 Baylor on Tuesday.