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January 25, 2008
MORE: Head-to-Head Breakdown
West Virginia can turn the Big East into a big mess with an upset of Georgetown on Saturday in Morgantown.
The Mountaineers (15-4 overall, 4-2 in the Big East) sit in second place in the conference race, tied with Pittsburgh , Louisville and surprising DePaul . The Panthers and Cardinals are heavy favorites to win Saturday, while the Blue Demons will have their hands full at Marquette . If WVU wins, it's conceivable there could be a four-way tie atop the league standings come Sunday.
It's the last thing the defending Big East champion Hoyas (15-2, 5-1) want to see. But they're in for a serious challenge. The Mountaineers have a 15-game home-winning streak, and no one has come close to winning at WVU Coliseum this season, the program's first under Bob Huggins. Only St. John's has come within double digits, falling 73-64. Marquette lost by 15, and Syracuse got whipped by 20.
The Mountaineers hope to push the tempo. The Hoyas won't go for it. They're a deliberate team in the halfcourt and will make WVU guard deep into nearly every possession. Both teams play outstanding defense, ranking in the top three in the Big East in points allowed.
The Mountaineers have one injury concern. Second-leading scorer Joe Alexander (15.4 points per game) is coming back from a groin injury and is listed as day-to-day. He missed WVU's victory over South Florida on Sunday, then played 25 minutes off the bench against Marshall on Wednesday.
Here's a closer look at the Hoyas-Mountaineers matchup:
Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.