CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston coach Dwaine Osborne is in for quite a home debut this afternoon.
The Golden Eagles (3-0) will play their home and Mountain East Conference opener against West Liberty (3-0) at 4 p.m. today at Eddie King Gym, marking Osborne's first appearance in front of the home crowd as UC's coach.
It will be a return to the site of West Liberty's only conference loss last year. The Hilltoppers have stormed out of the gate this season with three wins while averaging a cool 116 points in those contests, earning them a No. 3 spot in the NABC coaches poll.
UC is also undefeated, with each of the wins coming away from home.
While Osborne is happy with his team's success thus far, he admitted that trying to conquer the mighty Hilltoppers is a different challenge.
"Everybody is still trying to figure out how you play them because you can try to run with them or try to slow them down but not many teams have been able to slow them down a whole lot," Osborne said. "They have something they do well and a style that they play. They do a great job at executing their system. If we try to beat them at their game, they're going to have favorable odds."
The Hilltoppers always present a challenge in terms of style of play and especially tempo.
While UC hasn't seen anyone like West Liberty just yet this season, Osborne said the Golden Eagles have played three teams with completely different schemes, something he hopes pays off as the season stretches on.
"We've played three teams with three different styles, so that's been good for us," Osborne said. "This will be the fourth team with the fourth different style of play that we've seen. We've played three really good teams up to this point, but I also think what we're going to face in West Liberty is another level."
It's tough to argue, what with West Liberty entering today with six players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Cedric Harris at 18.3 points and 7.3 assists per game.
Keene Cockburn (16.0), Seger Bonifant (15.0), C.J. Hester (14.3), Kelvin Goodwin (11.7), and Devin Hoehn (10.7) are also scoring in double figures.
UC boasts just one double-digit scorer in Xavier Humphrey at 16.7 points per game.
Those numbers are skewed a bit by differences in philosophy as the run-and-gun Hilltoppers are giving up 83.67 points per contest and UC just 61.33.
No matter the statistics, what Osborne sees in his opening game at Eddie King Gym may very well be the stiffest challenge his team faces all season, but he for one is ready.
"We get the [No. 3-ranked] team in our home opener - it is what it is," Osborne said. "We're looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge that they're going to present us and I'm looking forward to see how our team responds."