Oklahoma basketball: Sooners back home in need of a win vs. West Virginia


Men's Oklahoma basketball is happy to be back home after suffering consecutive road losses last week at No. 19 TCU and No. 3 Kansas.

The Sooners (13-3, 1-2), No. 15 this week in the Associated Press national rankings, host West Virginia (6-10, 1-2) at the Lloyd Noble Center on Wednesday. While this is not a must win in the sense that the OU season depends on it, it is very much a necessary win if the Sooners want to keep pace with the conference leaders.

The opening tipoff is set for 8 p.m. CT and is available only on ESPN+.

West Virginia is in its first season under new head coach Josh Eilert and its first without Bob Huggins, who resigned after last season after 16 seasons heading up the men's program at his alma mater. The Mountaineers are off to a tough start, winning just six of their first 16 games, but they won the last time out, upsetting No. 25 Texas 76-73 in Morgantown.

Wednesday will be the West Virginia's third game against a ranked Big 12 opponent in its first four conference games. It will be the only meeting between the two teams this season. The all-time series between Oklahoma consists of just 27 games, most of which have come after the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 beginning with the 2012-13 season. They had played each other just twice before that, splitting the two games.

Oklahoma has a record of 27-10 against West Virginia and is 9-2 in games played in Norman, including a five-game win streak. This is a game the Sooners should win. The top eight teams in the Big 12, including OU, are a collective 77-1 when playing at home this season. The Sooners are 10-0 at home in 2023-24.

Last season the two teams split two games. Oklahoma won in Norman 77-76, and West Virginia prevailed big on its homecourt later in the season, 93-61.

West Virginia sits last or near last in the Big 12 this season on virtually every major statistical category, both offensively and defensively, although the Mountaineers do have three starters who average double figures in scoring.

Oklahoma has spent a lot of time at practice this week on tightening down its defensive pressure and forcing turnovers, During the nonconference schedule, the Sooners turned over their opponents an average of 13 times a game. In Big 12 play, however, that average has dropped to half that total.

In OU's two losses last week, for example, TCU committed just seven turnovers and Kansas was guilty of just two turnovers. That is incredible offensive efficiency for any team, but it is also a symptom of the Sooners not playing hard enough or applying enough pressure on defense. Look for the defensive intensity to ramp up against West Virginia.

Impact players


G. Javian McCollum: 15.0 ppg, 45.3 FG%, 38.8 3-pt%, 90.3 FT%

G. Otega Oweh: 14.2 ppg, 58.3 FG%, 65.2 3-pt%, 4.1 rpg

G. Milos Uzan: 9.2 ppg, 41.0 FG%, 3.8 rpg

F. John Hugely IV: 9.1 ppg, 57.3 FG%, 4.5 rpg

F. Jalon Moore: 9.0 ppg, 53.3 FG%. 5.7 rpg

West Virginia

G. RaeQuan Battle: 20.2 ppg, 42.7 FG%, 4.8 rpg

F. Quinn Slazinski: 14.4 ppg, 35.4 FG%, 31.6 3-pt%, 4.6 rpg

G. Noah Farrakhan: 12.4 ppg, 42.7 FG%, 4.1 rpg

G. Kerr Krissa: 10.3 ppg, 39.0 FG%, 39.6 3-pt%


The Sooners are a 12.5-point favorite at home over West Virginia. That seems a little high to me. I see Oklahoma prevailing and making the Mountaineers its 11th straight victim at Lloyd Noble Center this season. Sooners win by eight.