The No. 24 West Virginia men’s basketball ended 2022 with a loss in its Big 12 conference opener on the road against Kansas State in overtime, 82-76.
A loss like this was on the verge of happening for a few weeks.
West Virginia (10-3, 0-1 Big 12) had not played well since it cruised past Navy by 21 points on Dec. 7. Since that win, the Mountaineers had won three in a row, but those wins came against lesser opponents.
UAB will more than likely be a Quad 1 victory for West Virginia all the way to Selection Sunday. However, the Mountaineers only won that game by 11 at home after they shot just 5-of-19 (26%) from three-point range.
The story of Saturday’s game in Manhattan, Kansas, was poor shooting. WVU shot 41% from the floor, 22% from behind the arc and 20-of-38 (53%) from the free throw line.
That kind of outing will continue to lose games for West Virginia with the gauntlet that is the Big 12 schedule.
So far, this team had been a pleasant surprise with only two losses in non-conference play and entering the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since March 2021. However, the Mountaineers had taken advantage of weaker opponents to mask their poor offensive performances.
In the past four games, West Virginia has shot a combined 28-of-80 (35%) from three-point range. When you look at it from 1,000-feet in the air, it looks good. In a game like it had against Kansas State, West Virginia cannot afford only four three pointers. It especially cannot afford that kind of shooting performance when it misses 18 free throws while making a trip to the charity stripe 18 times.
The season is still early, but poor shooting for the past few games makes things a little bleak despite heading into 2023 with 10 wins overall.