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January 4, 2013In a conference season that will be full of new matchups, West Virginia (7-5) will open Big 12 play Saturday inside the Coliseum in a rematch against a familiar opponent from earlier this season.
The Mountaineers will play host to an Oklahoma (9-3) team that the Mountaineers have already squared off against once this season in late November.
In that game, West Virginia held a late one-point lead but eventually let it get away from them and fell to the Sooners 77-70 in the third-place game of the Old Spice Classic behind 19-points from Amath M'Baye and 14 from Je'lon Hornbeak.
It will be the second of at least three meetings this season between the two teams, with the first designated as a non-conference matchup.
Senior Romero Osby leads the Sooners in scoring at 12.6 points per game, while senior guard Steven Pledger chimes in 11.5 per contest. In the first meeting between the two the duo scored eight points apiece.
"Oklahoma does a great job of running sets. They're a little more complex than what they were before because they run some different entries, but it's still the same stuff," head coach Bob Huggins said.
The Mountaineers will enter this matchup with a chip on their shoulder after letting the first meeting between the two get away from them, especially due to breakdowns on the defensive end.
"The reason why we lost the game last time is we made a basket and we didn't get back on defense and that's not the game we should have," sophomore guard Gary Browne said.
However, Browne believes the two teams are much different than they were at that point in the season and the Mountaineers will enter the matchup with a sense of confidence.
"We had the lead, we just played bad and we didn't play as hard. We're a different team now, so we should consider that as an advantage," he said.
After the matchup with Oklahoma, West Virginia will hit the road for Texas then head back home for Kansas State providing some unfamiliar matchups for the Mountaineers during a time when familiarity is usually the strength.
The contest will tipoff at 4 p.m.
Huggins would like to narrow down his rotation but at this point doesn't know when that will occur because of the consistency of the group.
Huggins said the Mountaineers have been able to get to the free throw line because they've been able to spread people out and attack the basket.
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