The undefeated Cleveland State men's basketball team faces its first major-conference test of the season today at West Virginia. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.
So far, CSU (12-0) have played a quality Mid-Major non-conference schedule with wins against Iona, Kent State, Akron, St. Bonaventure, Robert Morris and Sam Houston State.
"This year our direction was to play quality mid-majors then go into the high majors," said CSU men's basketball coach Gary Waters. "What we are hoping is that those quality mid-majors have prepared us for West Virginia."
WVU (7-2) is the first of two straight Big East Conference opponents for the undefeated Vikings. The Mountaineers are 4-0 at the WVU Coliseum this season and have won 33 straight at home against non-conference teams. Their only losses this season have come against Minnesota and Miami (Fla.).
The Vikes are 5-0 on the road this season.
"We don't even consider it to be a road game anymore," Waters said. "We just consider it to be another game."
The Mountaineers are led in scoring by senior guard Casey Mitchell (17.8 points), junior forward Kevin Jones (12.6) and junior guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant (12.3).
Waters said there are two areas that he's concerned about WVU, "their rebounding and their defensive percentages."
Currently, WVU is 35th in the nation in rebounding, averaging 39.6 per game. The Vikes will have to find a way to keep WVU's starting frontcourt of Jones (6-8, 260), John Flowers (6-7, 215) and Deniz Kilicli (6-9, 270) off the boards.
"They can get to the glass," said Waters. "That's one thing they have over us."
With WVU's size advantage, Waters said that CSU will need freshmen reserve forward Luda Ndaye (6-9, 230) to play today. Ndaye is averaging 1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 6.5 minutes per game.
As for WVU's defense, they are holding opponents to .380 (48-for-185) from the field and .259 (153-for-214) from 3-point distance.
"We will have to find a way to score on this team," said Waters. "(However,) we can still shoot in the 40s and still be in the contest."
When asked what CSU needs to do to win the game, Waters said, "We got to play harder then our opponent and we got to play tough."
FSN to televise CSU-WVU: Fox Sports Ohio will televise today's CSU-WVU game via The Big East Network.
John Sanders will handle the play-by-play and Anthony Buford is the color analyst.
The game is also available on ESPN3.com.
Tough schedule: The Mountaineers will be the seventh team in the RPI 100 that CSU has faced this season.
Good company: There are currently 12 undefeated teams still left in major college basketball. They are Baylor, BYU, Cincinnati, CSU, Connecticut, Duke, Kansas, Northwestern, Ohio State, San Diego State, Syracuse and UCF.
Injury update: Waters is hoping to have D'Aundray Brown (right index finger) back by the first or second week in January.
Waters is also hoping that sophomore point guard Anthony Wells (knee) could be back in a week.
Brown has missed the entire season after having surgery in the preseason and Wells has played in only one game after knee surgery.
CSU women's update: The CSU women's basketball team are also playing in the state of West Virginia today. The CSU women (6-2) are in Huntington to face Marshall (2-6).
More women's basketball: Kate Peterson Abiad's squad has replaced Kailey Klein, CSU's all-time leading scorer, with a more balanced scoring attack.
The Vikes have four players currently averaging in double-figures. They are Shalonda Winton (13.9 points), Janelle Adams (13), Shawnita Garland (11.1) and Destinee Blue (10.4).
"It's very different then what we had in past couple of years when one player scored a whole lot of points," said Peterson Abiad. "I'm really pleased that we can count on these four girls game in and game out."
King update: Sophomore guard Honesty King (8.1 points), who missed CSU's last game at Akron with a sprained ankle, could return to the line-up against the Thundering Herd.
"I anticipate she will be at 100 percent by the weekend," said Peterson Abiad.
Next up: The CSU men host South Florida on Wednesday at the Wolstein Center. The CSU women are at Ohio on Tuesday.
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