Texas picks up much needed win over West Virginia

While West Virginia typically wins ugly, the Mountaineers proved on Saturday that they can also lose ugly as well.

The Texas Longhorns did a great job attacking the back end of the Mountaineer press most of the night and picked up a huge win it absolutely had to have in a game that somehow transcended the one-word label of “physical.” It was something more than that.

Texas has the combination of size and athleticism that can overcome the slow start the Longhorns have endured to kick off Big 12 play. This combo was on full display Saturday.


West Virginia entered the game allowing about as many points per game as Joey Chestnut devours hot dogs. Texas exploded at the offensive end, scoring 77 points. The Mountaineers entered the game forcing 22.3 turnovers per game. Texas managed to finish with under 20 turnovers and shot 43 percent from the floor.

On defense, Texas utilized a huge size advantage and forced West Virginia into a halfcourt game. The Longhorns also dominated the glass, nearly doubling West Virginia’s total. Entering the game, Texas ranked 17th in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 52.7 points per game. This is a huge upgrade for Rick Barnes’ squad — it allowed over 70 points per game last season — and we saw why on Saturday.


After entering conference play at 11-2, Texas now sits at 2-2 in the Big 12. January, however, is not kind to the Longhorns, as the month wraps up with road trips to Iowa State and Baylor, while hosting Kansas and Oklahoma State. February into March is even less kind, as they battle five teams currently in the top 25 in a row.

Texas, which was ranked as high as six in the country this year, needs to continue Saturday’s momentum and go on a run against good teams to build its resume for seeding in March.

For West Virginia, the loss is tough because the Mountaineers still lack a true quality road win. Coming into the game, the Mountaineers were three points away from being undefeated, with a two-point loss to Iowa State and a one-point loss to LSU. However, West Virginia does have wins over Boston College, UConn, and N.C. State. The ‘Eers pounded Oklahoma earlier in the week. They are just lacking a quality road win.

However, Bob Huggins’ crew will get plenty of upcoming opportunities. February gets much tougher for West Virginia. The Mountaineers travel to Kansas State, Oklahoma, Baylor, and Iowa State in the next month. The schedule also includes a trip to Kansas to begin March before the Big 12 Tournament.

While there is no doubt that West Virginia and Texas will be included in the Big Dance, the next month will carry a lot of weight when it comes to seeding for these teams. Some quality road wins would make it hard to keep West Virginia out of the top three or four. Texas will need to keep picking up conference wins to make it out of the 8-9 game in March Madness.