MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When Oklahoma State and West Virginia met in Stillwater on Jan. 6, it would have been impossible to comprehend the possibility of the Cowboys being the team that would be riding a wave of momentum heading into their rematch.
Oklahoma State was nothing short of awful, committing 19 turnovers while shooting 1-for-20 from three-point range. It was the second game of a six-game losing streak for the Cowboys, who seemed destined for the Big 12 cellar.
But then something happened.
A win over Texas A&M in the Big 12/SEC Challenge snapped Oklahoma State out of its funk, and the Cowboys (13-12, 3-9) have been one of the more capable teams in the league ever since.
The Pokes have won three of their past four games, including Saturday’s upset of Texas Tech. With the potential for high-quality wins over West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas still looming, there is a chance for them to play their way into NCAA tournament consideration.
No. 17 West Virginia (18-7, 6-6) will try to bring an end to those hopes Tuesday night, in part by drawing on Oklahoma State as inspiration to bust out of its current three-game losing streak.
“Everyone in West Virginia is in downer mode because we lost three in a row,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins. “Look at what [Oklahoma State’s] gone through. Those guys went through a lot, kept their eyes on the prize and they could conceivably get an NCAA bid or NIT bid. A couple weeks ago, that didn’t seem possible.”
Huggins indicated there will be changes to West Virginia’s starting lineup, which has remained static all year. Guard Taz Sherman is expected to be in the starting five after dropping 20 points on No. 1 Baylor in the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s 70-59 loss.
“He’s played really well in practice,” Huggins said. “He’s been our best perimeter player in practice, without a doubt.”
Oklahoma State (13-12, 3-9) at No. 17 West Virginia (18-7, 6-6)
7 p.m., WVU Coliseum
TV: ESPN 2
Last meeting: West Virginia won, 55-41, on Jan. 6 at Oklahoma State