It is conceivable that West Virginia will pick up more Big 12 road wins in the next three days than it has in the past two seasons combined.
WVU has only one Big 12 road win since the start of 2019, but is in prime position to make that number a memory.
The 17th-ranked Mountaineers (19-7, 7-6 Big 12) open a two-game, three-day road trip against a pair of teams hurtling in the wrong direction with Saturday afternoon’s game at TCU. The Horned Frogs (14-12, 5-8) are 1-6 in their past seven games.
It was a much different scenario the last time the teams met. TCU came into Morgantown 3-0 in the Big 12, but left with a humbling 81-49 defeat from which it hasn’t really recovered.
Perhaps the most intriguing element of this matchup is what Bob Huggins will do with his lineup.
Huggins shook things up against Oklahoma State to snap a three-game losing streak. Though he indicated after that game that he didn’t think the small lineup he used to start the game was such a great idea, the Horned Frogs do start four guards and only one post player.
He was coy when asked what he’d do against TCU, noting that power forward Derek Culver was great off the bench against Oklahoma State.
“You could say it helped motivate Derek,” Huggins said of his most recent starting lineup. “That’s as well as Derek’s played in a long time. And he’s the guy who turned the game around if you point to one guy.”
Culver’s defensive presence helped key a 20-4 run to open the second half against the Cowboys, allowing West Virginia to rally from a five-point halftime deficit. He was also the dominant force the last time the Mountaineers played TCU, finishing with 17 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
West Virginia follows Saturday’s TCU trip with a Big Monday game at Texas. The Mountaineers beat the Longhorns by 38 at WVU Coliseum.
Huggins is aware that this trip is an opportunity for his team to get back on the right path for a quality seed in the Big 12 tournament.
“You can’t lose three in a row in any league and not think that you’ve got some making up to do,” Huggins said. “Getting a bye in a conference tournament is important. Four games in four days is tough.”
The top six teams in the Big 12 tourney get byes into the quarterfinals. West Virginia is currently fourth in the league standings.
No. 17 West Virginia (19-7, 7-6) at TCU (14-12, 5-8)
TV: 2 p.m., ESPNU
Last meeting: West Virginia beat TCU, 81-49, on Jan. 20 in Morgantown