COLUMBIA, Mo. — The success/failure split of fall semester can linger heavily on a team’s tournament hopes come March, and with that in mind, Eron Harris laid some heavy stakes on Thursday night’s game at Missouri.

“We’re going to go out there like it’s the national championship,” he said.

With hype like that, perhaps Harris should be in charge of promoting the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, a 10-game series the Big 12 currently leads 2-1. Harris and West Virginia (6-2), after missing their chance to knock off No. 10 Wisconsin last week in Cancun, view the matchup against Missouri (7-0) as an important resume builder.

“The game vs. Wisconsin, we let that one slip,” said Harris. “All these games are must-wins for us because we want to make it to the (NCAA) tournament.”

While West Virginia is 1-2 away from Morgantown this season, Missouri has been seemingly invincible inside its home arena, winning 22 straight overall and its last 77 nonconference games. With a near-capacity crowd of 15,000 anticipated for tonight’s showdown on ESPN2, the Mountaineers face both a daunting challenge and a grand opportunity.

“National TV, big crowd, all the things you can ask for,” said WVU forward Remi Dibo. “We’ve just got to come out and be ready to play.”

The Mountaineers certainly looked ready for Monday night’s 96-47 tuneup victory over Loyola-Maryland, which tied West Virginia’s Bob Huggins with Jerry Tarkanian and former Missouri coach Norm Stewart for 16th on the all-time wins list at 729. Though WVU out-rebounded Loyola 62-22, it remains 121st nationally in rebound percentage, whereas Mizzou ranks 21st.

“It’s the most athletic bunch we’ve faced,” Huggins said. “If we don’t do a better job of blocking out higher and keeping then from pushing us under the basket, it’s going to be a long night for us on the glass.”

Updating the Big 12/SEC Challenge:

Nov. 14
Alabama def. Texas Tech 76-64 (SEC leads 1-0)
Dec. 2
Iowa State def. Auburn 99-70 (Series tied 1-1)
Texas def. Vanderbilt 70-64 (Big 12 leads 2-1)
Thursday
West Virginia at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
TCU at Mississippi State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Mississippi at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Friday
South Carolina at Oklahoma State, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Kentucky vs. Baylor at Arlington, Texas, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
Tuesday
Kansas at Florida, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Dec. 21
Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M at Houston, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

 

SCOUTING MISSOURI
Tipoff: 7 p.m. at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo. (ESPN2)
Record: The Tigers (7-0) are off to a fast start, albeit against opponents with a combined record of 17-32. The best of Missouri’s not-so-impressive string of wins came over Hawaii (92-80) and Northwestern (78-67).
RPIs: Missouri is No. 68 and WVU is No. 91.
Coach: Frank Haith’s third season at Mizzou began with a five-game suspension born of recruiting violations he committed at Miami. Though his record stands at 184-117 overall and 55-16 with back-to-back NCAA tourney berths with the Tigers, he very well could have been fired over the Miami infractions if not for NCAA investigators bungling the case.
Top players: Mizzou’s top three scorers are 6-foot-5 guards who began their college careers elsewhere— Jabari Brown (Oregon), Jordan Clarkson (Tulsa) and Earnest Ross (Auburn). At 19.2 points per game, more than half of Brown’s field goals have come from 3-point land, while the point guard Clarkson (19.4 ppg) is shooting better than 70 percent from 2-point range and Ross (13.4 ppg) is a swingman who leads the squad with 11 steals and eight blocks. “Clarkson, Brown and Ross kind of have the green light to shoot it and drive when they want,” Huggins said. “They’re really, really good in transition.”
WVU roster notes: Mizzou has a reputation for playing fast, but WVU averages a half-possession more per 40 minutes while outscoring the Tigers 85.1 to 80.6. … Juwan Staten (16.3 ppg) owns an amazing 60-to-9 assist-to-turnover ratio, and on the defensive end he has more steals (14) than fouls (nine). … Eron Harris (20.2 ppg) scored a season-low 14 points against Loyola but is shooting 52 percent from 3-point range—putting him among the top 30 in the nation. … After scoring 19 points in his last game, Remi Dibo (10.3) is averaging double-digits, with 21 3-point makes among his 28 field goals.
Line: Missouri favored by 5.5.
Prediction: Missouri 80-75
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Comments

  • Truthteller

    How many of you WVU fans tired of WVU taking bribes to lose games against name brand teams? There is no way WVU can shoot the lights out against some teams and then can't make a single basket against the name brand teams. I know, I have played and you either can shoot or you can't period. I am getting sick and tired of these rich people paying WVU to lose so their team can avoid a loss. WVU need to say NO to the bribes and start winning and not let the fans down!!!!!
    There are more important things in life other than money!!!!!

  • Kelly

    Larry / William / Tom:

    Whoever the hell you guy or guys are. Stop withe personal attacks on Huggins and his staff. In addition to coaching and fundraising for miners, Huggs has personally donated significant time and monies to the cancer research fund founded in honor of his mother. Coach Hahn's wife's story of her cancer fight is currently in the news section.

    I lost both my parents to cancer, and it is clear to everyone you are a very troubled person with no empathy whatsoever. Just shut the hell up or move on. What is wrong with you?!

    Metro news tech staff.....you can block users at the DNS location level. Enough is enough.

    • Big Larry

      What does Cancer have to do with WVU basketball?

      Nothing.

      This is a forum that discusses WVU athletics...not cancer.

  • richard

    I just love how people let William and Larry get under their skins. that's what they want. the words they print are just to dig at people. they know it's not true. just the opposite. that's why they do it. they know marshall will never be in WVU'S league. makes them feel better.

  • Big Larry

    I make one positive and complimentary comment about Eron Harris and the next thing you know...The Huggins sympathizers and paid trolls hang me out to dry.

    I do not know who William is but yes...I do admire his work and he does from time to time make some very interesting comments.

    What amuses me is that every time William decides to show up...you Huggins Trolls read every word he says...it is evident to me that you also admire his work as well....

    So with that being said....

    Here is hoping our beloved Mountaineers will put it on Missouri tonight. If they continue to shoot well they have a very solid chance of winning. But we will see. I see a 15 game win season but lets hope for a 20 win season with an NIT bid.

    I really am pulling for a victory tonight and will be disappointed with a loss.

    However look for Missouri to win by 2 tonight in Columbia.

  • William

    I've had a headache for months so I went to the Doc.

    He has determined that my headaches are the result of below normal intelligence exacerbated by petty jealousy of all things WVU.

    Guess I'll have to lern to deal w the headaches.

    • William

      imposter!

  • Jonathan

    Let's GO! Big game tonight. The blue & gold by 7!

  • Dave

    I think you're wrong on this one Allan. I think WVU is the better team tonight. Mizzou's winning streak comes to a halt.

    LET'S GOOOOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS !!!!

  • Old Coach

    @ Dr. Zee ...I like your post .... Cancer is a good definition of the villains on here, what a shame.... I thought that this type of program was to discuss sports not try to destroy people... Guess misery enjoys company.

  • John S. Shackelford

    As for going to Cancun, Gale used to take his kids on tourist trips, when they played away. That is an education for the players. Travel opportunities to other countries is both educational and fun. It opens the world up to them.

  • John S. Shackelford

    If Noreen can account for 10 points from the outside per game, the heavens will open up for the basketball team. One of WVU's problems is that they are playing 4 players on offense instead of five. That is a problem with 5 defenders. This would make one of the big inside people on the opposition move away from the basket, increasing stickbacks and creating the yellowbrick road for staton.

  • tw eagle

    this game is where coach Huggins "magic" should emerge . . . his young team seems to
    possess the right attitude and the energy to
    make any opponent have to work to stay in
    the game with WVU . . . these young Mountaineers haven't been exposed to the
    atmosphere / excitement / energy that they
    will experience tonight . . . don't let the game
    game get ugly coach , especially early . . .
    focused , but not so intent they mentally block out their responsibilities . . .

    Let's Gooo Mountaineeerrrsss ! ! !

  • richard

    you're clueless Ragweed. just clueless as to how athletics and scheduling works.

  • Ragweed

    I would like to know why-in-the-world our basketball team is going to Cancun to play? This is nothing more than a shakedown by the athletic department and a slush fund trip for league officials.

    No wonder our athletic department is in financial difficulty.

    • tw eagle

      first off , it's a good recruiting tool . . . secondly , it was probably Wisconsin that picked the teams that filled out the program. . .

      didn't you notice that St Louis was a mirror
      image of the WVU/Huggins teams . . . and ODU was a young , smallish team . . .

      with more experience playing with each other , I'd think the Mountaineers would
      beat UW . . . they are big , but not terribly athletic , and overrated . . . if the one kid hadn't got hot from 3land , WVU would have
      carried the night . . .

      and NOBODY wants to go Mexico . . . Cancun is a rundown beach bar that doesn't look bad if you've never been anywhere else . . .

    • Jeremy

      Hey dummy! Cancun invited US! It's a chance to play 2 solid teams in a short amount of time. While rewarding the student-athletes the short time in cancun during winter break. Our athletic dept. Won't be in the red for long. They have RARELY been in the red. Not sure why I'm explaining this to you. Because I'm sure you will not understand and just complain about something else

      • GoEers

        It was a good attempt by you to educate this marshall troll, but at the end of the day a troll is a troll.

  • GoEers

    Looks like the Marshall trolls are out in full force for this one. I guess they have already packed in considering their beloved Herd has already lost to Morehead st., Stephen F. Austin, and ETSU. Just goes to show how much more relevant WVU is to them than MOOU!

    • hailey

      Seriously they lost to those 3 "programs".... wow thats pretty pathetic

      • GoEers

        It sure is. What's even worse is that many of their fans read everything they can about WVU and them post their jealous comments. They have nothing to cheer about for their own team. That's the definition of a pathetic troll.

  • Doctor Zee

    Big Larry and William and the likes are like cancer, looks like they are trying to spoil everybody's life.. When people act like that as I have learned in college and life itself, are the most miserable people that's walking on earth and care less about anyone. They no doubt are very hard hearted... The only way I think with people like that , is too just ignore them.. They are not going to go away .Its like cancer... They only want attention, so WVU fans, just try .... I know it's difficult to ignore them but that I guess is what it's going to take...thank you .My first post

    • Rock Solid

      @Dr.Zee: Good post. Why don't we just scroll past william and larry when their posts roll by. Stop acknowledging their existance! Ignoring them is the last thing they want. They live for attention since their existance is so pathetic. Want to hurt them? Ignore them until God gets rid of them for the sake of humanity.

    • GoEers

      You can call Big Larry by his real name Lawrence Tomas. He posts the same garbage on The Charleston Newspapers website and a WVU Rivals site. He is a self proclaimes Marshall fan who reads every article about WVU athletics and then makes pathetic jealous comments. He is extremely jealous of WVU's AD and coaches. He is also a very miserable human being of which I actually do feel sorry for.

      Lawrence please go get yourself help before it's too late you no good troll.

    • Big Larry

      Dr. Z

      And hopefully your last...